Why your garden looks better this year

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Huttner Weather Lab veggie garden enjoying frequent soaking rains and warmer temps this year. (click for bigger picture)

It’s been a gangbusters start this year for gardens, lawns and farm fields in (most of) the Upper Midwest. All it takes is one look at your lush green lawn or garden this year to know growing conditions are nearly ideal.

Frequent well timed rainfall and perfect temperatures are creating the perfect growing conditions. I did some checking back to last year and compared where we were a year ago. Here’s what I found.


So far this growing season has been warmer than last year, especially in June. In the Twin Cities, temperatures in May of 2009 and 2010 ran about 1.5 warmer than average. But in the first week of June, temperatures are running 2.5 degrees above average this year. A year ago today, we began a stretch of 3 days in a row with high only in the 50s in the metro.

Bottom line? Temperatures are about 2 to 3 degrees warmer this growing season than last year to this date.


The biggest difference this year is ample and well timed rainfall. Many areas have soaked up about 2 more inches of rain in May and June than last year. The rains have been frequent and well spaced, with ample sun and warmth in between. The rainfall has also been slow and soaking in nature, without the violent heavy rainfall that runs off before it can soak into the soil.

Bottom line? Rainfall has been nearly perfect so far this growing season in most areas.

Exception to the rule:

Drought still hangs tough in far eastern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

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Next rainmaker moving in:

A fast moving jet stream overhead is dealing the next low pressure system our way. Expect another shot of rainfall Tuesday, with most areas getting another .25″ soaking, with higher amounts in some areas. IT looks like the heaviest rains may fall in far southern Minnesota along the I-90 corridor (where have I heard this song before?) and in Iowa. Heavy thunderstorm clusters could drop 1″ to 2″+ in Iowa and Missouri with this system.

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Expcet a Tuesday similar to last Saturday with periods of showrrs and maybe a rumble of thunder. It may not rain all day, but there could be several hours of showers overhead.

Twin Cities radar loop

Baseball Weather:

It was a great weekend to dodge showers and get a little baseball in Big Lake. Thanks to the gracious hospitality of the good folks with Big Lake Baseball, all three tournaments got the games in.

My son Luke plays on a 14 year old Minnetonka travelling baseball team in the Metro Baseball League. They won all 3 games on Sunday, and managed the consolation championship after losing a close 3-2 game late Saturday in the 7th inning.

I’ve been meaning to post a few baseball pictures when the weather was quiet…and today’s the day. We’ve had to dodge a few showers this season, so what’s good for the garden keeps the baseball schedulers busy.

Thanks to coaches Tripp, Egan & Brennan and congrats to the boys on a good weekend of baseball!

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Team smiles after a triple header sweep.

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Luke smiles with some new hardware after a long day at the ball park in Big Lake.

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Luke delivers a pitch at Veterans Field in Minnetonka.

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Strike 3! Good call ump!


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