Are the plants happy?
It always happens after you think the weather is so warm you see yourself around the pool sipping a refreshing iced tea. The harsh reality of the season is when it comes out of nowhere that it catches you off guard. A SPRING FREEZE!
Just a quick post to help those before they are surprised and give you a tip you may not know.
I make sure that all my tender potted plants are brought inside the unheated garage, and I WATER because cold spells often do the most damage to plant tissue through drawing out the water in delicate tissues. Did you know this?
It’s very important to water before the freeze and to aid in heating up the soil. Wet soil holds heat longer.
Check water needs of plants after the freeze too. Ice formation inside plant tissue draws water out and dehydrates the cells, so some plants may look a bit wilted. You may automatically attribute this to the freeze and see the plant as a loss, not realizing a good watering may perk your plants right up.
Apply water to plants early in the day so the foliage can dry off. If they appear to be dried out before the cold spell hits, water is the best line of defense. Although a freeze will decimate the tender annuals, it can harm perennials newly budding. Water will help all your plants.
Then use a light “blanket” covering to protect the tender plants from ice particle formation and wind. Any wind during a freeze only adds to the desiccation. You do not need to run out and buy frost protection fabric like used on farms. Although it is relatively inexpensive and very convenient, an old sheet will do. Some use old inverted milk cartons (top removed), but I think having to store them would be an inconvenience. Fabric folds and stores easily, especially thermal blankets like used commercially. They are better because they dry quickly and don’t hold water like a bed sheet might. If rain is predicted, then frost, best to have the right materials.
Complaining does absolutely no good. If you have a young plant in your garden that wasn’t acclimated before a cold spell hits, you may have to just chalk it up to loss and welcome in a new one.
One good thing about a cold snap, they do wonders to knock down the insect populations and a few slugs may perish. Bad for nesting hungry birds, but good for garden plants.
My plants all survived being covered and well hydrated. They are shown in this post after the freeze getting a good drink to face the cool sunny day.
Next post, as promised – Wild About Allium- Step Aside Tulips, and following – Taking Care of the Soil. After that, Divide Me Please. GWGT is always filled with garden tips as of late… just stay tuned. The next six or more posts give you some designer tips and ideas. Each day see something new!