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Albany growing seasons 1874-2014

Growing seasons in Albany

lettuce bok choy radishes in garden

The lettuce likes it cool, anyway.

With the, um, rather brisk weather this week (56 on Wednesday) -- and frost advisories around some parts of the Capital Region -- we were curious about growing seasons here in Albany over the years.

Thankfully, the National Weather Service Albany office publishes that info dating back to 1874. And because we have an easier time scanning this sort of stuff when it's in graphical form, we flipped into an interactive chart...

The chart

It's above in large format -- click or scroll all the way up.

A few numbers and dates

+ The latest spring freeze on record is May 27, in both 1968 and 1969.

+ The earliest last spring freeze on record is March 30, 1878.

+ The earliest fall freeze on record: September 14, 1963.

+ The latest fall freeze on record: November 12, 1883.

+ Shortest growing season: 113 days, May 24-September 14 in 1963.

+ Longest growing seasons: 218 days, April 8-November 12 in 1883.

+ Median length of growing seasons on record: 165 days

+ Median last frost of spring, all years on record: April 26

+ Median first frost of fall, all years on record: October 10

+ Median length of growing seasons, 1985-2014: 161.5 days

NWS also publishes probabilities for freezes based on 30-year normals. By May 21 at ALB there's typically still a 20 percent chance of chance of the temperature dipping to a measured temp of 36 degrees (cold enough for frost to form on the ground) later in the spring. The probability drops to 10 percent on May 27.

Comments

165 days! I should've been able to grow watermelons! Cantaloupes! Two harvests of peppers! Some decent amount of luffa! Even okra, for goodness sake!
But why none of this grows well here????

@Lu -- one of the things I've learned as a gardener is that not all days are created equal. The seed packet might say something matures in 100 days, but that is often based on 100 summer days -- hotter than spring or fall, and optimum hours of sun. I took a gardening class with the farmers of Fox Creek Farm and one of the most important things I learned from them is that you have to tack on days to that theoretical 100 days if you are planting a fall crop. This year I actually plan to plant my "fall" crops by Aug. 1 to make sure I get a harvest to take into account the waning sunlight.

fyi -- numerous gardeners at my community garden do grow okra successfully. So I guess that does adapt to this climate.

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