Roots 'n' Shoots: The Shroom's Weather Report 2014/2015

Saturday, 18 July 2015

The Shroom's Weather Report 2014/2015

Altocumulus clouds

*Cue music*

… da da da dum dum…

*Serious reporting voice*… Good morning and welcome to The Shroom’s annual weather report for the period of July 2014-2015.

Since the establishment of a mechanical weather monitoring system at The Shroom’s vegetable garden premises during July 2013; several observations of extreme weather have been made and empirical data collected of these events with regards to precipitation (mm), temperature (oC) and humidity (% r.h.).

Mechanical weather monitoring equipment

Weekly temperature and humidity data was collected of maximum daytime temperatures during the peak hours from 11h00 to 13h00 and precipitation was measured in mm, or more accurately, the amount of rainfall in millimetres on a flat surface.

The results were as follows:


*Ahem*


Another year of weather monitoring has passed and now the fun starts! Let us have a look at the weather during our 2014-2015 period as well as do some comparisons to the previous season (2013/14) and I will make some general comments as to happenings in the garden.


We did not as many dramatic weather events as reported last year, such as huge hailstorms or flooding - in fact it was quite the opposite:

1) The rainfall was very late as well as drying up too early.

2) Droughts were prevalent in many regions around South Africa. Although we did not suffer as much, we definitely noticed an increase in the manual watering frequency of the garden.

3) On the 16th of October 2014, many parts of eastern South Africa experienced a ‘Dust Storm’ due to the extremely dry conditions and late summer rains. I was outside busy in the vegetable garden at around 17h00 when it hit. I remember thinking, “Who put out the lights?” LOL! You can read more about it at The Citizen: Sandstorm hits Joburg, Bloem (video).

I have here two tables comparing the total rainfall and average temperatures for our main growing season (which begins in August) for 2013-2015. Data for the rest of July is not in yet, so no comparisons there, but I doubt it would change much…

Rainfall
2013/14
2014/15
Difference from previous  year (+ more, - less)
Aug
5.5
5
-0.5
Sep
3.7
9
+5.3
Oct
109
29.5
-79.5
Nov
89
111.3
+22.3
Dec
173.8
125.5
-48.3
Jan
163
126.5
-36.5
Feb
173
67.5
-105.5
Mar
157
72
-85.0
Apr
0
49.5
+49.5
May
3.5
0
-3.5
June
0
1
+1.0
Jul
0
Data lacking

Total
877.5
596.8
-281

Temperature
2013/14
2014/15
Difference from previous year (+ more, - less)
Aug
15
16
0
Sep
24
23
-1
Oct
22
20
-2
Nov
26
21
-5
Dec
23
26
3
Jan
28
28
0
Feb
25
26
1
Mar
22
23
2
Apr
16
21
5
May
21
20
-1
June
12
12
0
Jul
15
Data lacking



The tables might be a bit difficult to visualise to here are two comparative graphs as well:






Lets take a look at the problem ‘months’ shall we say:

1) October had just about zero rainfall, hence the dust storm. We had to manually water some of the crops that we generally left rain irrigated, such as the Squash and Maize (my new experiment tee, hee!). The near to nothing rainfall had a profound affect on the insect population as well - the chickens went hungry for grub longer and my pest control squad was not up to full strenght until end November.

2) The rain was far less during February and March, with more rain during April. This means that all our plants were drier during their most important cropping stage, which had a huge negative impact on a few of our produce, especially the Sweet Potato harvests as they like a flooding type watering system (lots of water, followed by drying out and then lots of water). Manual watering did not make up entirely for the loss in rainfall.

3) November was 5oC lower than the previous year, although I do not recall a huge difference in the growth of the garden, but the April 5oC warmer scenario has definitely impacted on our winter garden and dormancy signals for deciduous trees/shrubs. I will provide more detail on the winter garden setbacks next month.

4) Our total rainfall is about 68% of last year’s amount and although it is the average rainfall we can expect (~600 mm), the decrease and shift in rainfall had made a huge difference to the total number as well as the weight of produce harvested this year from the summer garden.

Here were the problem months for this year:



I am surely keeping my fingers crossed for more rainfall next year and with a better distribution in the main growing/harvesting months – good thing we added some more rain harvesting tanks to our collection, should this become the norm for the next few years…

Anyways, we went from one really wet year with floods and hailstorms to drought and dust storms the next- what will our crazy and unpredictable weather throw at the backyard gardeners next? Well, you will have to stay tuned for another update next year!


*Serious reporting voice*
…Keep well and good night…



Related Post:

The Shroom's Weather Report 2013/2014


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