Frost warning! The facts about late frost.
I have to close my ears this time of year when the news people start giving gardening advice. The weather guys say…………….plant………….. don’t plant…………too early to plant………..too late to plant. It’s really not that complicated.
It depends on what you are planting!!!
Think about it. The bulbs always come up in the snow and tolerate many freezing nights. Covering them up with blankets just crushes them. When using blankets or other covers to protect tender plants you must take the blankets off in the day. Otherwise they’ll keep the plants warm, pushing them and predisposing them to even more damage next time.
Trees, shrubs and perennials are pretty tough. They are used to getting bit by frost after flushing out in early spring.
Remember that nice 75 degree Friday afternoon in February this year? It’s a good thing the plants are smart enough to not be fooled by a freak warm day. For woody and perennial plants it’s best to just let nature take its course. The time to think about what is not hardy is when you choose what to plant!
Now, the tropicals and annuals are another story. They’ve never seen a frost! They can’t take it. These are the things you shouldn’t plant before our last average late frost date of May 15. (please note all the qualifiers in that statement!) Last year we had a hard frost on May 15.
Most vegetables are included among “annuals”……………………. tomatoes and peppers etc. Some veggies can tolerate light frost and are even considered “cool weather crops”. These would include, cabbage, kale and lettuce. Among flowers, the pansies like cool, early spring weather and are fine with a frost. Another fascinating aspect of plants is how various plant tissue deals with cold and frost. How can a pansy take freezing while a petunia would die?
This latest series of cool weather days is just what we needed to get back to “normal”.
Enjoy the warmer days to come!