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On Phenology (very interesting read despite the weird name)

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On Phenology (very interesting read despite the weird name)

Post  mollyhespra on 5/6/2015, 10:16 pm

I've always been anxious about when I'm going to see asparagus, so last year, I noticed that the first spears showed up on May 5th at exactly the same time as the Forsythia was starting to bloom.  

This year (drum-roll, please) my first spears have popped out of the ground exactly on...May 4th the day I first noticed the Forsythia was blooming.  Thing was, I noticed the Forsythia first, but couldn't remember what it was that it was supposed to signal.  It wasn't until I saw an asparagus spear later that day that I noticed/remembered the correlation.  I went to write it down, checked my records from last year and saw that it was almost to the day that the same thing had happened in 2014.

There's a name for that (when you use something that happens naturally (bloom times of certain plants, etc.) to time something that you want to do in your own garden) but I couldn't remember what it was.

So I did some poking around and found a bunch of articles on exactly this subject and thought I'd share. Here's one I've bookmarked and plan on using for comparison in my garden this year: https://hort.uwex.edu/articles/phenology

I'm wondering now if my observation of the Forsythia and asparagus will hold true in other areas as well.  Has anyone noticed this kind of thing or other correlations before?
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Re: On Phenology (very interesting read despite the weird name)

Post  Kelejan on 5/6/2015, 10:43 pm

I read it first off as phrenology and wondered what on earth it had to do with asparagus. Very Happy

The only correlation I have so far is that I plant my tomatoes outside when the snow is off the two mountain peaks I can see from my window.

Does that count?

Off to read your article.

ETA  Yes, very interesting.  I wonder if I have enough time to make much of a list? study
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Re: On Phenology (very interesting read despite the weird name)

Post  boffer on 5/7/2015, 9:29 am

Lavender Debs has mentioned some correlations that her grandma taught her, but I don't recall what they were specifically.  I know lilacs was one of them.

What you're getting into is GDDs (Growing Degree Days) which measures the aggregated heat for the year.

When I saw this post yesterday, I  couldn't remember where I had seen the word 'phenology'.  Here's a link that I use to calculate GDDs in the PNW that uses the word

http://uspest.org/cgi-bin/ddmodel.pl?spp=aaa&lot=50&hit=95&stm=1&wfl=C682912.txt&hfl=tacoma1_wa.txt&fcz=tacoma,%20wa&sav=1&ipc=0

Weather.com used to have a calculator that would compute GDDs by zip code, but I haven't been able to find it since they re-did their website a few months ago.
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Re: On Phenology (very interesting read despite the weird name)

Post  camprn on 5/7/2015, 9:49 am

GDD calculator
http://adstest.climate.weather.com/outlook/agriculture/growing-degree-days

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Re: On Phenology (very interesting read despite the weird name)

Post  boffer on 5/7/2015, 9:53 am

You found it! My hero! bear hug
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Re: On Phenology (very interesting read despite the weird name)

Post  donnainzone5 on 5/7/2015, 12:02 pm

I still can't get that page!

Since many of these websites were redone recently, it seems that less information is available.  Has anyone else noticed this?  Or is it just my imagination?
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Re: On Phenology (very interesting read despite the weird name)

Post  Turan on 5/7/2015, 1:17 pm

I really enjoyed the article and learned a new word Laughing 

I figure that the plants/seeds are aware of and reacting to more things in the environment than I know of so I use them to tell me when to plant. 
When I see grass greening and garlic sprouting I plant snow peas but that is really too early. 
When I see orach sprouting is when I should plant peas and plant spinach and lettuce.
When I see wild mustard sprouting (or a few radish seeds planted for this purpose) I know I can plant cole crops including transplanting out (but keep them covered for cold nights).
When I see sunflowers popping up I can plant corn, wait a week and plant the squash.

I had not realized the correlation between potato planting and first dandelion bloom, but ye, that is just about right.

The one I want to figure out is when do slugs become active in the spring?  What is the indicator right before they attack and eat my lettuce seedlings?

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Re: On Phenology (very interesting read despite the weird name)

Post  Kelejan on 5/7/2015, 1:22 pm

@Turan wrote:I really enjoyed the article and learned a new word Laughing 

- - -

I had not realized the correlation between potato planting and first dandelion bloom, but ye, that is just about right.
- - -
Oh heck! My potatoes must have rotted by now. Sad
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Re: On Phenology (very interesting read despite the weird name)

Post  Turan on 5/7/2015, 1:33 pm

http://www.poorwillsalmanack.com/content/phenology-february-and-march

Another interesting read on this.

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Re: On Phenology (very interesting read despite the weird name)

Post  Turan on 5/7/2015, 1:35 pm

@Kelejan wrote:
@Turan wrote:I really enjoyed the article and learned a new word Laughing 

- - -

I had not realized the correlation between potato planting and first dandelion bloom, but ye, that is just about right.
- - -
Oh heck! My potatoes must have rotted by now. Sad
Or they have been in nice cool damp storage waiting for the perfect moment.  After all, as long as they did not freeze they should of been in good storage circumstance.  You can gently dig down and check.

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Re: On Phenology (very interesting read despite the weird name)

Post  FRED58 on 5/7/2015, 9:19 pm

I had mentioned this in a post on the Canadian thread: that a local gardener told me to ignore the conventional Ontario wisdom of planting on the Victoria Day weekend (the weekend before Memorial Day) and wait for the lilacs to drop their blooms before planting my tomatoes out. By the article, I'm going to have a busy weekend. The forsythia and dandelions are in bloom and the lilac leaves are almost open.

Nice article.
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Re: On Phenology (very interesting read despite the weird name)

Post  mollyhespra on 5/10/2015, 11:18 am

I'm really taking note of this stuff this year, but I'm doing one "better"; I'm not just going by the first dandelion I see out and about in my town; I'm going to go by when I see the first dandelion in my yard.

I live in a cold hole and I've always noted how my lilacs are easily 3 weeks behind the others in town.  When they're almost spent is when mine are starting to get into full bloom.  

I visited a local farm yesterday where we get our eggs.  I remembered the thing about the asparagus and went over to look at their patch, and nothing.  Not a spear to be seen.  They must be in an even colder hole than I am or perhaps the nearby buildings shade the patch too much, I don't know.

It just emphasizes the need to take detailed notes from year to year in order to best know when to plant what based on local conditions, not unlike Kelejan's snow-capped peaks (or lack thereof) signaling that it's time to plant tomatoes.
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Re: On Phenology (very interesting read despite the weird name)

Post  Turan on 5/10/2015, 11:36 am

Even in the garden I have to watch the micro climates.  I have sunflowers popping up in the very protected spots, but that does not mean that the area I will plant corn has warmed enough.

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