Monday, January 09, 2012

Just some weather thoughts, mainly how to plan when to plant my garden

I love the UVic weather network.   In my neighbourhood I have six and half years of data now and I can see how much it differs from the Environment Canada data for Victoria.   There are many micro-climates in the region here and if you were to crunch the numbers for your neighbourhood you might find it is different.

In my neighbourhood I get about 67 centimeters of precipitation a year, this is 10% more than the data for Victoria from Environment Canada. More than half the rain falls between November 1st and January 31st.  

We really have a rainy season and a dry season.  In the six months from October 1st to March 31st, 79% of the rain falls.

I also looked at Heating Degree Days - this is a measure of how far below 18 degrees the average temperature went on a given day, a temp of 0 is a heat degree day of 18, an average temperature of 12 degrees would be a heat degree day of 6.   Over 18 degrees is a zero.  The coldest month of the year is December with January and February not far behind.

One important set of stats for me are killing frosts and when the overnight temperature is above 10 degrees.  I am interested in this because I like to plant veggies each year and it would be useful to know these dates so that I can plan my planting better.

First Killing Frost
2005 December 15th latest
2006 October 30th
2007 November 23rd
2008 November 26th
2009 October 12th - earliest
2010 November 20th
2011 November 4th
ave November 14th

Last Killing Frost
2006 March 13th
2007 March 1st Earliest
2008 April 1st
2009 April 4th
2010 March 8th
2011 April 7th latest
ave March 25th

This gives me a good guide when I can plant the first spinach, lettuce and brassicas into the ground.

Frost Free Period
2006 - 230 days
2007 - 237 days
2008 - 240 days
2009 - 191 days
2010 - 257 days
2011 - 211 days
ave 228 days

First Night with temps higher than 10 degrees
2006 May 16th
2007 May 26th
2008 May 15th
2009 May 29th latest
2010 May 18th
2011 May 14th earliest
ave May 20th

This gives an idea on when I should be getting most of my garden into the ground - Victoria Day weekend seems to be the right time.

Last Night 
2005 October 19th
2006 October 28th
2007 October 23rd
2008 November 1st Latest
2009 October 1st Earliest
2010 October 23rd
2011 October 22nd
ave October 21st

Real Growing Season
2006 - 165 days
2007 - 155 days
2008 - 170 days
2009 - 125 days
2010 - 158 days
2011 - 161 days
ave 156 days

This is important because it gives you an idea if you can actually grow many things to maturity in this region.   Things like melons, corn and others.
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