May 09, 2009

A nice weekend and Mother's Day

After four days of below-normal temperatures (see graph), we can look forward to a near or slightly warmer than normal weekend. The cold, wet weather has brought considerable new snow to the Cascades and the higher-elevation snowpack was enhanced (see photo at Crystal Mt.). Water will not be a problem for the western side of the State this year.
The computer forecast models indicate that a weak ridge aloft will build over the area this weekend (graphic), bring temperatures to near-normal (mid 60s) and no precipitation over the lowlands. Unfortunately, the cold, wet pattern that has haunted us this whole winter/spring redevelops on Monday and Tuesday (see graphic). My big decision...should I move my tomato plants outside with this this upcoming decline...probably not.

Heading to Port Townsend tomorrow(Sunday) to talk and sign books at 1 PM in the Rose Theater.


  1. I've always followed this rule with tomatoes: never, ever put the plants out until May 15th or later. The couple years that I pushed the envelope (probably sun-stroke from an occasional warm late April/early May day), my plants did not do well. Repot the ones inside to keep up with the growth if you must, but do not put them out yet. In my North Capitol Hill back yard, I will ripen my fruit 98% of the time if I wait till May 15th at the least. (That 2% being the last couple lousy seasons, esp. last year.)

    (Northern Exposure is a wonderful Seattle tomato, btw.)

    And no basil yet. Just put in more greens, which love the cooler weather.

    What a wonderful weekend! I've washed off the outdoor chairs already and am ready for the first real spring party. Thanks for the great weather!

  2. This nice weather is great! Today would of been the better day for hiking with all the sunshine there was today. We`ll see about next weekend as some models show a possible ridge.

    As for gardening and since Cliff mentioned about his tomato plants, probably a good idea to wait a bit longer before putting them out. Maybe wait another couple weeks or there abouts.

    I really do like gardening and having my own garden, however, it`s looking in need of some care(by me)as it`s getting a bit weedy and needs some cleaning up and looks a bit neglected. I`m making my garden sound But really, I need to get up there and do some weeding.

    Though with every bit warm sunny weather we have, I like to take advantage of by hiking up in the mountains. :-)

    Here`s to good/ healthy tomato plants, Cliff. :o)

  3. Well, my tomato and basil plants went into the ground yesterday, and so I am ever-so-hopeful that was not a mistake! I thought that the rule was Mother's Day, and I was SO excited to get them going. I can almost taste them - warm sweet 100s, fresh from the vine, and the way they pop in my mouth....

    Please please please let us have enough warmth to grow tomatoes!

  4. Cliff,

    Any grand theories about why this pattern has stuck around for six months? I'm getting rather tired of cycling to work and having it be cold, drizzly, windy and gray. How often does this pattern hang around this long in the PNW (I moved here three and a half years ago)?

    At least the afternoons and weekends have been nice.

  5. My rule used to be the third week in May; now I put tomatoes out earlier -- but I also give each one of them a "wall-o-water" - a ring of tubes that you fill with water and place around the plant. The water heats up during the day, and keeps the plants warm(er) at night. This is the way I've planted out my tomatoes the last 3 years and even with our recent sucky summers, my tomatoes have thrived and I've gotten lots of ripe fruit. I love my wall-o-waters!


Please make sure your comments are civil. Name calling and personal attacks are not appropriate.

Winter-Like System in May

Tomorrow will not feel like late May, with a winter-like Pacific weather system making landfall, bringing lots of rain, wind, and cool tempe...