Growing Degree Days: What are they?
The average Growing Degree Day (GDD) for this time of year is 281. The growing degree units this year is 368.5, which is significantly above the average. GDD’s are calculated each day as maximum temperature plus the minimum temperature divided by 2, minus the base temperature of 50 (I use 50 because that is the temp that sweet corn will start to germinate). For other vegetables, such as squash, pumpkins and beans, I will use a base temp of 60. GDD’s are accumulated by adding each days GDD’s total as the season progresses. If the average temperature is below the base temperature, the growing degree day value for that day equals zero. By using this calculator one can determine the proximity of harvest dates for different vegetables and keep you from over planting in the spring. Why? Because we can only harvest and market certain volumes every day. Produce is highly perishable and the window for mature produce only gives you a short window to pick, pack and sell.
Over the last five years here is what the GDD units have measured from April 1st through May 29th:
I hope everyone learned something today! Don’t forget to keep the weeds out of your gardens. Weeds are the number one source for a poor yield. They rob the nutrients from your produce, steal the moisture and worst of all bring in unwanted pests. Happy Tails!