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A tip for Great Lakes gardeners

Posted by terry_neoh 5b (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 26, 14 at 22:30

If you can't check your soil temperature, and are wondering when is a good time to plant certain vegetables, you can check the surface temperature of the lake nearest to you.

My father-in-law (bless his soul) would wait until Lake Erie was 50F before planting his field corn. I try to wait until 55F before planting tomatoes and peppers. This is not a predictor of frost, but some things just won't grow until the ground is warm enough.

As you can see in the link, Lake Erie is only about 40 now.
-Terry

Here is a link that might be useful: Surface temperatures


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: A tip for Great Lakes gardeners

I think Lake Superior is an exception; it stays under 40 degrees F until late June most years.


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RE: A tip for Great Lakes gardeners

  • Posted by glib 5.5 (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 27, 14 at 11:21

Lake Erie is the exception because it is so shallow. Well, Lake Superior is an exception too, because it is still 70% frozen.


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RE: A tip for Great Lakes gardeners

Just to be clear, I am referring to surface temperature. The link can be used to find any area of any Great Lake. Western OH/Eastern IN is a world center for tomato culture. Minnesota is not.

Here is a link that might be useful: pick your lake


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RE: A tip for Great Lakes gardeners

  • Posted by glib 5.5 (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 27, 14 at 22:49

The old way to plant tomatoes was "when the lilacs bloom". Good also if you live away from the Great Lakes. I have already planted two, and will cover with a plastic tent in case of need. The other 28 when the lilacs bloom.


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RE: A tip for Great Lakes gardeners

Or you can just google soil temperature map and find your current local temps, The one I use in Illinois is updated daily.

Here is a link that might be useful: Illinois state water survey - soil information


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RE: A tip for Great Lakes gardeners

The thing about Lake Superior, though, is the immense water volume. Water is densest at 4 degrees C (39 degrees F), with the density decreasing both below and above this temperature. So as the ice-cold water warms, it sinks, bringing colder (<39 degrees) subsurface water to the surface. The entire lake has to warm up to 39 degrees before convective stability occurs and the surface can warm.


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