Weather alert: cooler beginning today

Cooler weather arrives today—on the average, that is. That may be hard to imagine with temperatures hitting the high 90s on most recent days and 100° yesterday, when the Heat Index Value in many areas reached 115°.

But it’s true, according to historic daily averages for the Clarksville-Dayton area. Our average high is 88° from July 18 to 23. Our average low is 64° from July 17 to 25. Our high mean is 76° from July 18 to 24. Our average high drops to 87° on July 24, the average low to 63° on July 26. The mean drops from 76° to 75° today, Sunday, July 25. The averages in your area probably are similar.

Doesn’t that make you feel cooler—at least in an “average” or “mean” sort of way?

Averages are averages and means are means, and they highlight that the weather we’ve been having the last few weeks has been significantly warmer than the historic record. That same history indicates we can be sure cooler weather is on its way, regardless of the triple-digit readings on our front-porch thermometers.

And if cooler weather is coming, many of us gardeners will be thinking about planting fall or cool-weather veggies, much heralded by gourmets and just plain old home cooks as some of the best of the gardening year. In her “A Cook’s Garden” column in the Washington Post on July 15, for example, Barbara Damrosch wrote, “Fall is a long, glorious season for these vegetables [brassicas, such as kale, broccoli, cabbage], sweetening them and mellowing their flavors.”

Finding bedding plants for cool-weather veggies can be frustrating. Big-box stores in our area seem to stock only spring veggie plants. Local nurseries don’t stock fall veggies if there is insufficient demand. And, of course, many of us forgot to order sufficient seed in the spring to start our own plants now.

But don’t despair. Return to this Grow It Eat It blog tomorrow to read my next posting about a family farm near the border of Howard and Montgomery counties where two greenhouses of veggie seedlings over the next six weeks will be ready for farmers and gardeners to set out for fall crops.

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