We had our first frost here last night and it was beautiful this morning at 4:45 am with a completely clear sky full of stars! There was a frost warning the night before but we never actually made it to freezing that night. Based on the research we did on our area, it looks like this is right about the time we can expect a freeze in Fall every year. Looking through our temperature data from the last 24 hours we see that we dropped below 30 first at 3:05 am and then went back above freezing at 3:45 am. we then dropped back down below freezing again at 4:55 am and did not climb back above freezing until 8:00 am. The low temperature recorded was 29.5 degrees at 6:25 am.
This data and display come from our AcuRite 01075RM 5-in-1 Weather Station with the wireless unit mounted about 5 feet above the roof of our shed. We have been very happy with this weather station, it is great to have real local weather data when gardening. It collects temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind, and pressure and has lots of fun graphing capability you can play with. You can access the data online and from an app you can put on your phone, which is useful if you are out in the garden and want to look at the data. We have only had a couple issues with the unit so far. First, we originally connected the device to Weather Underground to add our data to their database and allow for better local forecasting. What we found was somehow the connection to this service was causing our remote sensor to lose connection to the indoor display unit and the hub on a frequent basis. As soon as we removed the Weather Underground connection that problem went away. The second problem we have is our own doing. The mount to the roof is a vertical 2×4 and when the wind blows above about 25 mph the unit vibrates causing it to register rainfall even when it is not raining. We first noticed this back in Spring when we got a huge windstorm with no rain but the unit registered 10″ of rain that day. We have been meaning to remount the device using a pipe to see if that helps the problem but we have not completed that project yet, maybe that should be on the list for the winter. Looking on Amazon, the kit we bought is no longer available but there are other similar setups. First is the Model 01512 kit which does not have the hub to collect the data and report it to the online database or the two additional temperature and humidity sensors our kit came with. The hub is optional but makes it simple to set up so you can have the unit report to Acurite allowing to access your data via the Internet and the phone app. Alternatively you can setup a computer to act as the hub and report that information to Acurite but this will require a bit more technical savvy, the computer will need to be powered all the time, and the computer will need to be hard wired to the display unit via an Ethernet cable. The hub is just a simpler solution all around. There is a kit available that has a new version of the hub. This is the Model 01012M and it claims support for Amazon Alexa as well. The bottom line is we really like this setup for the price and would recommend it to anyone as an entry level weather monitoring solution.
Since this is the first frost since having much of our mulch bed construction completed we thought it would be interesting to see what the bed temperature was this morning. We used our infrared thermometer, a very cool tool to have around and also pretty cheap, to measure the surface temperature of a bed as well as the temperature a couple inches into the wood chips. As you can see the surface was much colder than the air but the temperature just a couple inches down is 20 degrees warmer than the air. This is great because it helps keep the tree and shrub roots warmer in the cold winter months. The jury is still out on how successful we think this wood chip approach will be long term but so far it seems to work pretty well. We might talk more about the pros and cons we have found in a later post.
We have not done much planning yet for what winter projects we might want to get completed around the property so this sudden frost is a good kick in the but to remind us that we need to start planning. We will be sure to let you know our plans as they solidify.