The work week got underway in North Central Wisconsin on a frosty note thanks to a ridge of high pressure settling in, providing a clear sky and light winds and this weekend will once again be frosty. May is the month on the calendar when many folks who have been planning out their gardens since the dark days of winter can finally get to work digging and planting. Of course one of the factors that goes into the start of the growing season is the weather. After quite a dry spell in early April, rain returned to the region and right now we are sitting pretty close to yearly precipitation averages, although for the month the deficit in the rain bucket is running about .75" to 1.00". Meantime, frost/freeze conditions are typically a concern during the first half of this month in Central Wisconsin, while in the Northwoods, the seasonal trends prolong frost possibilities into the last week or so of May. The best rule of thumb at least is to check out this map of the state which shows when on average the last 32 degree low occurs.
I can certainly recall many instances over the years during the late spring and even summer months when the mercury has dipped close to if not below freezing thanks to dry, chilly air associated with Canadian high pressure settling into the state. In turn, it is always a good idea to keep tabs on the forecasted low temperatures in case you need to break out the blankets/bags to cover those plants in the ground, or bring in the ones residing in movable pots.
Since I've delved into rainfall locally, here's a check of the Drought Monitor for the entire state of Wisconsin. For starters over the past several years, we have been running a deficit in precipitation as a whole, which causes our long-term soil conditions to be on the dry side. So although we've done better this year so far, the last several years have not featured as much rainfall. As of May 5th much of the northern half of the state was in a moderate drought situation with severe drought spanning in the darker shade of orange from parts of Vilas and Oneida Counties back to the southwest. To check out more on the midwest drought conditions (and zoom into individual states) here is the link: Midwest Drought Monitor.
Happy gardening and hopefully all those flowers, vegetables and fruits will turn out picture perfect!
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