Sunday April 28, 2013 | 09:14 AM
Posted by David Epstein

Every once in a while the weather becomes so perfect it’s almost hard to believe this is Maine.  The next week is going to be one of those periods where you might quip, “Why can’t it always be like this”. Cool mornings and mild afternoons with plenty of sunshine are going to repeat itself over and over into Friday.  There won’t be much difference in how high or low temperatures get each day.  

I'll be updating the forecast throughout the week on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.

This morning is going to end up being the coolest of the next 7 days and perhaps was  even the last morning we see temperatures in the lower 30s, but that is a tough call to make.  I put all my houseplants outside yesterday with the expectation I won’t see another frost, at least inside inside a few miles of the coast.   I have all the house plants covered with row cover this morning so that the tender leaves don’t burn.

After a winter inside the leaves of most plants will burn if you place them directly in the strong sun. If you don’t have row cover, which most of you do not, put your plants in the sun for a few hours in the morning and then move them into afternoon shade for a few days.  If you live inland, expect another frost or two, but you could move things outside, just move them inside if temperatures are forecast to go below 35F. 

You will notice huge swings in temperatures this week from morning until afternoon.  Today for example, some spot will warm up nearly 40 degrees from the early chill. Dry air, which we have over us now, has the ability to cool and heat very rapidly.   The reason for this is that there is less water vapor in dry air.  Although CO2 gets all the attentions as a greenhouse gas, it’s really water vapor that is the most powerful.   Dew points are one way we measure of the amount of moisture in the air.  Today our Dew Points are in the 30s and this was about how low the morning temperatures were earlier.  
 
In the winter our dew points are routinely in the single numbers and teens, thus one reason the air is much colder at night.  During a clear calm night the dew point is a good measure of the potential low for the night.  
 
In the summer our dew points rarely go below 50°F thus why we don’t find chilly nights in June, July or August.  Let’s say that the dew point never went below 40F, we would never have a frost.  It’s generally not possible for the temperature to be under the dew point.  When the temperature and dew point are the same we often see wet grass or frost.  Thus the name dew point, the point at which dew would occur.
 
 
The reason for this long stretch of dry weather is an area of high pressure that is going to remain firmly in place this week.  High pressure areas are places where the air is actually sinking from above and as the air sinks it warms and dries out.  These two facts will continue to build upon each other and keep the area rain free.  You know what I am going to write next.  The dry weather is great, but we need rain. Plants are rapidly growing and billions and billions of plant cells are sucking up ground water at a phenomenal rate.  One factor preventing a full-scale drought from starting is that it will not be very warm, but that won’t last forever.  
 
 
Gardening this week
 
This is a great time of year to get the lawn in shape.  In this week’s video I talk about a few things I am going this time of year to keep my lawn healthy.
 

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About the Author

David Epstein has been a meteorologist for more than 25 years. He spent 16 years in Boston and currently freelances at WGME13 in Portland.

In 2006, David founded GrowingWisdom.com, a business producing educational and marketing videos for the green industry. He currently is a professor at Framingham State College, teaches Jan Plan at Colby College and owns Bloomscapes Inc., a landscape design business.

David authored "Gardens Of New England" and his work has been published in Grolier's Science Annual for 10 years. He lives in South Natick, Mass., and has a summer home in Harpswell.

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