When one thinks of a garden, they see a fresh, green filled garden with many different types of vegetables, growing and flourishing. You are looking at and savoring the great fresh vegetable taste, you will be experiencing. The expectation is harvesting some of the vegetables and eating them.
But the mystery is how to get to that point with your garden. It isn’t good luck that successful growers possess, it is know-how and work. You can use the instrument metrics from your weather station to help you get there.
You can look forward to mouth watering vegetables that you picked from your own garden. You will also be saving much money on your food budget as well.
How Do You Use Weather Measurements?
To determine how to best use weather readings, you probably should first determine which readings will be important to you. This will be important in helping you to produce a garden full of wonderful fresh produce ready to be consumed by you and your family.
So the best instrument readings for this will be, temperature readings, rainfall amounts, barometric pressure, wind direction & speed, as well as relative humidity. There are other readings that may be gathered and used from instruments such as moisture content, wind chill factor, and dew point.
The instruments used to gather these readings are thermometer, anemometer, barometer, and a pyranometer. A pyranometer is one of the instruments that isn’t ordinarily found on regular consumer purchased weather stations.
It is usually only available on advanced scientific climate instrument stations. These advanced stations are exceedingly more expensive than the standard weather stations. The scientific stations are in the neighborhood of $4000-$6000 for the most part. Regular, really good weather stations are usually purchased in the $500-$1500 range.
What Is A Pyranometer?
A pyranometer is a form of an actinometer. I know, what is an actinometer?
Well let’s get to the bare bones of what we are talking about here. We are talking about measuring the effects of the suns rays in an area.
This measurement is done by the suns rays, activating a chemical reaction in the measuring tool to see how effective the sun’s photons are actually working to help out plant growth in an area you are measuring.
Let’s look at an example. You have a small garden on the north side of your property. It really isn’t shaded at all, but you are concerned about how effective the sun will be in growing plants in a garden there. So you measure the sun using a pyranometer.
What you find out is that an area on the south side of your property actually rates as a better garden spot than the plot on the north side. It is close, but the pyranometer shows the south side plot is better for more effective plant growing.
Using The Readings
Any advantage you can get as a gardener, makes you a much happier gardener. Learning to effectively use scientific data to your advantage is your goal. Why do all the hard work, if you aren’t going to grow a great harvest of plentiful vegetables?
Let’s look at some things that are very important to maintain great plant growth. One of the first things is to maintain a good amount of water for growth but not too much water.
Too much moisture in the soil can result in stunting growth and can actually be bad enough that you can suffocate the root system of the plants and kill them.
What About The Rainfall?
Watching your rainfall by using your weather station can be a very invaluable source of this information. You will know when it rains and how much it rains. Knowing when the rain is falling can help you with preparing your plants for the rainfall.
You can make sure the soil around the roots is aerated well by loosening up the dirt enough around the roots to cause the water to be close to the roots but not pocketing enough to not allow the roots to get the necessary oxygen from the soil close to the roots. This will allow continued plant growth.
Scientific facts back up my statements. One of the most common reasons for the suppression of plant growth during very wet periods is the reduction of oxygen in the soil that is available to plant roots. Plant cells respire and need oxygen to survive and grow.
You will need to be concerned if the soil air drops to less than 12% oxygen. At that level roots will suffocate and die. Some things to watch for are, oxygen of the air in the soil forces out soil air. Also when there is less air available, the oxygen is rapidly used and becomes inadequate for good root growth.
In very wet soils, organic matter begins to decompose and this process will also further deplete oxygen in the soil area. So as you can see, how much water, where is the water, and proper care of the soil in your garden, does make a large difference to a successful gardener.
So in the big picture having a station in your garden area will allow you to measure the rainfall in your garden. The station’s rain gauge will be very useful for this.
Watering Your Plants
Watering habits vary widely from one gardener to the next. As an example one group tends to get very busy with their lives and they end up forgetting about the plants. The plants often wilt and often don’t get the water quick enough to save them.
Whereas the second group of gardeners tend to pamper their plants. They then have a tendency to water their plants too much. They often come close to killing their plants by drowning them.
With either of these extremes you can stress your plants to the point that you will end up weakening your plants. Our experience tells us these weakened plants are the first to fall prey to bugs and diseases. Most importantly they also will produce fewer blooms or vegetables.
Watering seems simple, but actually takes a little finesse to do properly. Start by identifying your soil type and measuring the actual amount of water your plants receive.
“Vegetables need an inch of water per week delivered by either rainfall or irrigation. This converts roughly to six gallons per square yard per week,” said Robert Polomski, Clemson Extension Horticulturist at Clemson University, in a report out of Clemson’s Agriculture Dept recently.
It has been found that thoroughly soaking the soil with infrequent watering is better than shallow regular watering. Experience also shows that a deep soaking will encourage the plant roots to reach deep into the soil. It is also known that shallow watering will keep roots close to the surface, and this will cause the plants to be more susceptible to drought.
Very important when tending a garden is that you have the necessary sunshine to grow the plants you have planted. It is very important that are able to keep track of how much sun and just how much good weather you have been having so that you can make sure you are on schedule with bringing your garden along.
You need to make sure your plants are maturing at the pace they need to be so that they will be producing the crop for consumption you have planned out. Always remember that your growing season is on a set schedule.
You do know approximately the length of your season and when you will need the crop harvested by before the frost hits. So use the daily temperature data and keep track of the good elements days so that you know you are on schedule. Your station with the software provided will be able to give you this record.
Another thing a station will provide you with is the current wind speed, the top wind gusts in the last 12 hour period, and whether or not the wind speed is trending upward or downward. In looking at the anemometers provided information you will be able to analyze where you are at with how moist or dry your garden is currently.
The longer the wind is blowing, the more dried out your garden will be. With this information you will be better prepared to know when it is time to be watering your garden.
Remember, a garden that is too wet is prone to be killing off the plants, and a garden too dry will mean your vegetables will not be growing up to their potential.
Adding on or buying a newer, better equipped station would be two ways to improve your gardening experience. Adding extra instruments and displays to your selection of tools would be a wise move.
With your added repertoire of tools, you will have more information to analyze with, and then more timely work to be done, to maximize your vegetable’s growth.
So looking at the much larger picture, when you are taking a view of the garden and using a instrument station, it is seen very easily, that the most important things you need to be concerned with are, sunlight, rain, wind and the growing season information.
Weather stations do provide readings for all of these areas. You just need to use the information. Let the information work for you. Data logging can be a very helpful thing.
If your unit does have software, this will help you out tremendously. Applying your knowledge of the vegetables you are growing, the stations daily readings, along with using proper weeding, and watering techniques will help your garden flourish.
You can check up on more sophisticated element station collection units to find even more complicated methods to use for even better gardens. More instruments, more information, and much better yielding gardens.