Friday, April 27, 2012


Logan Airport is advising there is a chance of frost for most of Massachusetts today. Proving that even though the weather has been in the 70's and 80's this week sneeze and it can change. The last frost date was April 21st. A common mistake gardeners often make is planting early. It is much better to plant a week or two after the suspected frost date.
In areas where a late spring frost or even an early hard frost threaten garden plant, being prepared is your best defense. I just have to pop the top back onto the winter sown seeds. I can throw a blanket over the roses and a few other not quite cold hardy plants. I find the plants most vulnerable to frost are soft woods, blooming , and potted plants. I happen to have all three. The bloomers will have to stick it out as they are already past prime and covering is useless at this point. Frost usually occurs overnight and I can drag everything in and covering everything but I will probably forget and make it worse off. Common signs of frost damage are black leaves, mushy leaves and buds.
Many people mistakenly use plastic to protect plants from frost and while this can be effective, it is a practice that some expert gardeners warn against. Plastic doesn't breathe, but rather trap moisture inside. If the temperature drops low enough, the increase in moisture presents a greater threat to the plants if it should freeze. Since I winter-sowed using plastic covers  that are well ventilated I am popping them back on. You can also make cloches by cutting a soda bottle in half and putting it over your tender plants and it's o.k. to leave them on if you forget. Just make sure that you remove them before the real heat sets in.

A fabric covering will allow moisture to escape, but will still protect plants from frost by preventing the freezing air from coming into direct contact with the moisture. Bed sheets an old duvet or thin blanket are ideal for covering large plants and shrubs as well as tender sprouts.

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