Posts tagged snow

First frost

We’ve been lucky to escape an early  frost this year in Eastern Iowa. But when is the average first frost?


    Different sources say different dates. I’ve seen the average listed for Cedar Rapids – where I garden –  between Sept. 16 and Sept. 25. The Farmer’s Almanac says it’s Oct. 7.

   For Decorah, in northeastern Iowa, it’s about the same, or even earlier. One listing says Sept.  18 and, according to Iowa State University, between Sept. 22 and Oct. 4.

  South in Iowa City, Iowa State University lists the average first frost a bit later, between Oct. 1 and 13.


I usually try to note when the first frost is in my gardening journal, but couldn’t find anything for 2007 until Oct. 24. Was it that late last year? And then it didn’t even appear to be a killing frost. In 2006, according to my notes, it was more obvious. On Oct. 11, after a stretch of 70-degree days in the preceding week, there was not only a hard frost, but snow!


Earlier this week, weather forecasters said we could get our first frost Wednesday night; somewhat fitting, as it will be Oct. 1. That forecast was changed, and frost was taken out for the coming week, at least in Cedar Rapids.  I hope they’re right.  I’m not yet ready to give up on this gardening season.


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Deja vu (but no record)

It was just a week ago that I tried to look at the bright side of our snowy spring (March 28 – Say it isn’t snow!) Once again, looking out at a white lawn this morning, I was hopeful that this late-season snow might hold some meaning.

But apparently, we still haven’t set a record. KCRG-TV9 meteorologist Josh Baynes told me this morning that Cedar Rapids still has more than 2 inches to go to beat the record snow of 62.4 inches that fell in 1959-1960. Last night’s snowfall  officially measured as only a trace, leaving the city at 59.9 inches for the season. Iowa City, which didn’t get any measurable snow yesterday, has even more to go. Their record is 75.3 inches and the city has had 61.1 inches this year.

The daylillies, tulips and other plants that have finally emerged should still be OK, but plants that were about to bloom might have suffered from this latest round of cold.

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Say it isn’t snow!

imga0285snow.jpgWas it just a bad dream or was this really what we saw falling from the sky last night?

Go ahead, friends in sunny Arizona and balmy California, I give you full permission to gloat. Those of us in Iowa can still look on the bright side after our latest bashing of snow:

1) It’s March, not May. Let Mother Nature get this out of her system, before we get used to 70 degrees and sun. (Please, please don’t let this jinx us in May.)

2) We’re only inches away from setting a snowfall record. After the winter we’ve experienced, don’t we deserve the “I survived the snowiest winter EVER” bragging rights?

3) Drought, shmought.

4) More time for indoor spring cleaning.

5) It will all be gone by tomorrow, right?

6-10) Ok. You come up with the rest. I’m not that much of an optimist.

But just remember, those of you in warm locales, when winter weather finally does retreat in Iowa, you’ll be longing for those picture-perfect, glorious months, or weeks, or at this point, let’s at least hope for a few days of spring in Iowa.

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Just getting started

Maybe it’s the snow shoveling that’s occupied my time every weekend, (or has it been every other day?) but I’m not as prepared for spring as I normally would be. By this time last year, I had started cabbage and kale seeds indoors and several flowers that are either slow to germinate or need 12 weeks of growth before being transplanted outside. I also give my peas a start inside. They can tolerate almost any outdoor temperature, but by germinating them indoors, you can get a jump on the season when the snow finally clears enough to plant them outside.

Now that we’ve had to spring ahead for daylight saving time, will it actually feel like spring? I know there’s some controversy surrounding the change – that it disrupts the body’s natural circadian rhythm, doesn’t really save energy, etc. But as far as an extra hour of daylight at night, I’ll take it! In fact, I’d prefer to keep daylight saving time year-round. Even though we “gain” an extra hour of sleep in the fall, I’d prefer the tradeoff of keeping that daylight into the night. When you leave work and it’s already dark outside, it gets a bit gloomy. Plus, if there was no change in the fall and in the spring, wouldn’t that keep our natural sleep rhythms in order better than forcing an adjustment every time we have to switch our clocks??

While many of us are tired of the cold and the snow,  I think nature prefers a constant snow cover over a winter that goes through cycles of thawing and freezing, as we’ve seen in recent years. The snow acts as a good insulation for plants and prevents those eager beavers who want to clear out their beds on the first warm day of February or March from doing so. Now, let’s hope that our warmup (it will come, right??) is a gradual one and we don’t jump straight into summer.

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