Sometimes you guess right about the weather…and sometimes, you guess wrong. I guessed wrong last night and woke up to wilted, frost-damaged plants.
Ugh. Last night, I knew a cold snap was coming. I checked the house. I had one blanket which I could drape over one plant. Do you know what that’s like for a gardener? It’s like asking a mom of six which child gets the one life jacket on the Titanic. I mean come on….I had lilacs, azaleas and other flowers blooming, plus asparagus, strawberries, peas, lettuce, beets and spinach all coming along nicely. So who got the blanket?
None of them did. I took a chance and bet that it the temperatures wouldn’t drop that low. Well, I bet wrong. The local weather channel predicted 30 degree temperatures, but by 1 a.m. when I woke up and checked, it was already down to 26.
Today most of the plants look as if they’ve recovered somewhat, but Saturday night we are expecting another horrible temperature drop. I took the geranium pots inside, and will do so again, but what about the other beds? Do I protect one from frost? Which one?
Flip a coin? Roll the dice?
I honestly don’t know. I do know that using plastic is a bad idea. Pine straw mulch may be an option, or perhaps bed sheets.
Or maybe I will just leave them alone, flip the coin once more, and see what survives.
I really can’t wait for spring to finally settle down in the garden!
This is why, my friends, you do not chance planting those tomatoes, those beautiful petunias and other annuals before your region’s frost-free date. Mother Nature is fickle. Unless you’re prepared to deal with a surprise freeze, wait to plant those tender annuals. Even in my case, the cold hardy annuals and veggies still seemed damaged. We will see what the weekend brings.
Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.