Okay, I admit to some obsessive behavior back in my homesteading days. It is true. I had a rig that measured the high and low temperatures of inside the house, outside the house, inside the greenhouse, four inches down in the garden soil, and I can’t believe I also kept track remotely of the temperatures in the middle of my compost pile. This system was all connected to a monitor in my kitchen by means of wires, lots of wires. In theory, it seemed like a good idea. In practice I kept accidentally cutting the wires with a shovel or a spade or some other tool of mass destruction.
Start with a Maine Weather Stick - It's simple and cheap
Maine Line Woodsman Weather Predictor Stick Balsam
A Rain Gauge Is Very Handy
In recent years I have tried to simplify things on the weather monitoring side of my life. For years now I’ve had a big two foot long rain gauge that has worked pretty well, except for those few years I forgot to bring it in for winter so it was broken by freezing water. I’ve tried a number of indoor/outdoor thermometers that have a sensor on a wire that you stick out through a window frame. After moving several times and forgetting to take the device, I opted for a thermometer in the house and a separate large thermometer on the back porch.
Oh yes, one additional confession. Eons ago, when I got out of the navy, my Dad gave me a nicely finished wooden plaque with a barometer, a thermometer and a humidistat mounted with pretty brass fittings. I have had that rig hanging on a wall someplace in all my many residences including in my current abode, and I have never used it. It seems like a good idea to keep track of the barometric reading, but after setting it a couple of times for two or three days, it gets forgotten.
Finally The Cadilac of Weather Stations
This year I have gotten really organized. I have been using an amazingly complete wireless home weather station called Vantage Pro2, made by the Davis Company. All the monitor sensors are stored in a container about the size of a volley ball that is mounted outside as far away from the house as 500 feet. There is a solar panel attached to power the system. An attractive monitor, a bit larger than a paperback book, sits on a desk in our dining room and gives us about as much information as any reasonable person should ever need with the touch of a few buttons.
We can check current temperatures inside the house and outside the house. Then we can see the high and low reading for the last day, the last month, and the last year. We can do the same with humidity, inside and outside the house.
I now am able to take advantage of the benefits of a barometer. I can check the current reading any time I wish, which is not really important to me. What is valuable is with the push of a button I can see a chart with the hourly readings for the past twenty four hours. That tells me very quickly if the readings are going down or going up. Down means possible bad weather.
The Vantage Pro2 measures rainfall very accurately. I can get a reading for just the current storm, or for the last 24 hours, or for the last month and even for the year. If you are using the inch of water a week technique to determine when your plants need water, this data is very valuable.
But wait, it gets better. I have a sensor buried in my garden that tells me the current soil temperature and another sensor in the soil under the turf that gives me a current moisture reading. Soil temperature is critical for knowing when it is time to plant in the spring, and the soil moisture data takes the guessing away from when your lawn or garden needs watering.
You can get much more information about this wonderful device at www.davisnet.com. Yes, it is not an inexpensive tool. Depending on the features you will spend $600 to $1000. My feeling is that it is worth it to me to have that very valuable and immediate information that helps me avoid mistakes in taking care of my lawn and gardens. It will last for years and it sure beats my Maine Weather Stick.