Frigid, brutal, bone chilling, dangerous, all words we are hearing this morning with regard to the cold. The truth is that the cold the next couple of days is the strongest we have seen in a couple of years, but it’s not record breaking or even that severe. As a matter of fact, after this round of cold we are seeing departs, we still will not have experienced the average number of days below zero we saw in the past. Last year, the USDA redid the growing zones for our area. Even with the new zone map, our current cold is still about ½ a zone warmer than the new map would predict. This means that marginally hardy plants, that are sensitive to the cold, shouldn’t show much if any damage from this cold snap.I”ll be updating the cold and potential snow Friday night on Twitter at @growingwisdom ask me a question or leave a comment there. Hope to hear from you.
The cold can be a problem for some. Folks that have to work outside for long periods of time should be sure to wear their best cold weather gear. Pets are also affected by wind chill. So when you hear that wind chill number for exposed skin, which is what your pet will feel. Of course some dogs and cats have nice warm coats of their own, but they can get frost bite and their feet pads can be especially sensitive.
I feed the birds in the winter and while I fully realize they can fend for themselves, it’s a fun way to help pass the days inside. During cold snaps, I find the birds eating voraciously and I need to fill the feeders frequently.
The reason for the current round of low temperatures is that the jet stream is carrying cold air from deep in Canada south into New England. Over the next few days that jet stream will slowly retreat north and the core of the cold air will return to Canada. One benefit from this cold, if you don’t like snow, is that a potential storm for Friday may stay south of the area. The heaviest of the snow looks to say around New York and Philadelphia Friday and early Saturday. We will need to watch the models over the next couple of days, but latest indications are that we are not getting a big storm this weekend and some areas may not see any snow at all.
Temperatures next week should return to seasonable levels in the 30s to near 40F. Another piece of good news, today we start gaining two minutes of daylight as we add about one minute each morning and another minute in the afternoon.
Gardening this week
All the dry air associated with the cold isn’t good for our indoor houseplants. Recently, I took a trip to greenhouse and saw how they care for their plants in winter. Hopefully, some of the tips help to keep your plants healthy until spring. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this blog or any others. Please follow me on Twitter at @growingwisdom and check out my latest videos at GrowingWisdom.com