Regional Herb Gardeners: Cold Weather Crop Problems and Oregon Water Rationing

Regional herb gardeners share information on cold weather problems for tomatoes and lawns, Oregon water rationing and notes from the latest International Herb Growers and Marketers Association conference.


| October/November 1992


Regional herb gardeners discuss problems related to gardening in their area.

Regional Herb Gardeners: Weather Talk

DENVER, COLORADO—Why do weatherpersons insist on buzzwords and gobbledygook instead of plain English? I suppose longer is better: “thunderstorm activity” sounds more important than “thunderstorms”. And does anybody really care that today’s weather is “due to an upper level disturbance, resulting in clockwise rotation and upslope conditions”? This penchant for wordiness has also engendered massive overuse of “wise” as a suffix. “Temperature-wise, it’ll be mild.” “Precipitation-wise, you’ll need an inch of water on your lawn.”

They and I seldom agree on what a beautiful day really is. One local weatherperson labeled as “dismal” a forecast of 77 degrees and possible afternoon showers. I call that perfect. She was much more enthusiastic about the weekend—sunny and 90 degrees. I consider that prediction just short of hellish. Perhaps she likes to look out the window of her air-conditioned office and see sunshine, but I prefer to be chased indoors by a rainstorm. I’m concerned with my personal comfort, of course, but I also interpret the weather report for the way it affects my plants. Will it freeze tonight? Is it too hot for transplanting? Should I water in the newly planted bulbs, or will the rain do it? Is the humidity too low for the fuchsias?

For weatherpersons, only two kinds of plants are worth mentioning. As cold weather approaches, they transfer their attention from the first—lawn grass—to the second—the tomato. “You’ll need to cover your tomato plants tonight.” Or, conversely: “You won’t need to cover your tomato plants tonight.” Thanks. Now I can sleep soundly and not worry, tomato-wise, about scattered snow shower activity from an advancing Pacific front stalled over the northeast quadrant.

—Rob Proctor

Oregon Weather Season

NEWBERG, OREGON—This past summer has been a unique gardening experience. May was the hottest and driest month in recorded Oregon history, and everything in the garden happened two to three weeks earlier than usual. The herbs shot up overnight: one day we were trying to weed, and the next day we were cutting back the herbs to find the weeds. Everyone commented on how large the plants and flowers were this year. More warm, dry days followed, and the herb garden became one big flurry of bloom. All the lavenders flowered at once, and we had to scramble to keep up with the harvest.

Then, all of a sudden, the garden expired from heat and thirst as Oregon experienced its first water rationing. As a native Oregonian, I found this hard to take: our state is renowned for its rainy days and lush green growth. To see the garden suffering from drought was painful.





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