I’ve been curious about the local microclimates in my yard and how much protection I’m able to provide trees that I cover and wrap with incandescent light strings during cold nights. The personal weather stations look interesting but there is already one about 500 ft from my yard and another about 1500 ft away so it never really made sense to get one. Those don’t tell me much about my own microclimate though so I found a pretty inexpensive weather unit (about $17) which comes with 3 remote sensors that looked interesting enough to try.
It only gives temperature and humidity, but so far, the accuracy seems decent (temperature tracks pretty closely to a separate thermometer and is also very close to the other weather stations nearby). I haven’t tried to independently verify the hygrometer measurements but they certainly seem to track in the right direction. It’s pretty basic though. It doesn’t record data although the base can record a Min/Max temp for each remote sensor, which is convenient.
With a cold front moving through, I’ve moved some of my sensitive container plants into the unheated garage and will wrap a few in the yard with a light string and cover and plan to track the temperature in the garage, inside one of the covered trees, and out in the open. Here’s one of the remote sensors positioned in an orange tree that will be covered. You can see the single strand of mini incandescent Christmas lights (40W) wrapped loosely around the base. I don’t expect it to get too cold so this should be sufficient. This tree will be wrapped later today.
That’s nice. I’ve used similar to track temperature in many places: the fridge, the greenhouse, an insulated unheated shed where I have plants now, and places That might freeze in an arctic blast like we have now.
Improvised a bit for the cover for this small orange and just used an oversized tarp, weighted down with stones. Turned on the lights at about 36F. The outside temp sensor is reading 32.5F now but its a balmy 42.5F inside the protected tree.
Overall, the temperature monitor seemed to perform well last night. I turned on the lights once the temperature hit 36F (and falling) yesterday evening. By the time it heated up fully, I was holding 43F under the protected tree while the exterior sensor was reading 32F. By early morning, the exterior temp reached a minimum of 26.7F/97% while the protected tree had a minimum of 40.4F/78%. The closest PWS near me (about 500 ft away) read 26.1F/88% at the same time so my own exterior temperature reading tracks fairly closely. The unheated garage was 47.3F/62%. I’d say I’m satisfied with the weather station and happy with the level of protection I was able to maintain for the covered trees.
Thanks for the report and great documentation of what you’re doing. It would be interesting to see how temps vary around your home in unprotected spaces as well, although I realize that wasn’t your primary goal.
I was amazed when I first started gardening and put a min/max thermometer out in a patch of garden between my neighbor’s house and ours. The cold clearly settled in that protected space and it would frequently read 2 to 4 degrees colder there on calm nights/mornings compared to a local weather station about 500 feet away. By comparison, when I put the min/max thermometer in my open front yard it tracked almost exactly with the weather station.
That was important information to have since that space is right in front of my detached garage where I keep my figs in the winter, so it told me I had to be more conservative about what nights to leave the figs out when I started doing the in our shuffle in the Spring.
Thanks @zendog, looking at variations in the yard is also on my list to do and was another reason to get this unit with 3 remote sensors so I could do direct comparisons. We’ll have another pretty cold night tonight and tomorrow (though not as cold as last night) so I may try that.