We have had a rollercoaster start to the spring growing season.
Periods of premature spring followed by freezing temps, snow and hail storms have left both plants and gardeners confused about what they’re to do. By this date, there’s a 20 percent or less chance of a frost—and this year, we will be within that 20 percent.
The forecast for the next two days has more snow and freezing temps ahead. Sadly, so many people got busy planting their tomatoes and annual flowers over the Mother’s Day weekend. Now we have many plants at risk.
Perennials are more cold hardy and can generally survive the snowy weather and temperature swings. If there are new blossoms emerging, they may freeze, but the plant itself should weather the storm. It’s those new veggies and annuals that are de more at risk.
For newly-planted annual flowers and veggies, we need to be aware that there are two weather threats:
1. Frost and freeze damage from the temperature dive
2. The damage from heavier spring snows.
Tomatoes won’t like being pushed to the ground or a frost.
The best thing to do in front of the storm and temperature dive is to cover plants to hold the heat in the soil around the plants – and, also to protect them from heavy, crushing snow.
* Use regular household items such as cardboard boxes, empty plant pots or containers or buckets to cover tomatoes and peppers – and even tulips and daffodils.
* Make sure the container is big enough to cover the plant without pressing on it.
* If cardboard boxes are used, be sure to cover them with a large plastic bag or tarp so they stay dry. The moisture from the snow will cause them to collapse over the plants.
* Avoid using plastic as a covering if it directly will touch plants. Plastic conducts cold and provides no frost protection.
* Tomato cages can also be covered with fabric – think household towels, sheets, light blankets.
Another warming trick is to use non-LED holiday lights strung around tomato cages. Make sure lights are plugged into a protected outdoor socket. Then drape fabric over the lighted tomato cage to hold in the heat.