Sunday, May 24, 2015

Freezing Frost

We have learned to rely on NOAA for reliable weather forecasts.  Friday they posted severe frost warnings  that were deadly accurate.  We were hit with both frost and a solid freeze.  Every covering container we owned was pressed into service to establish barriers between the plants and the frost.  Time will reveal the extent of the damage to many of our plants.

Becky cut flowers that were likely to be ended by the cold.  Bright yellow lemon lilies are both early to flower and super sensitive to frost.  Most years we have only green leaves and the promise that next season will be better.  Several scapes were cut for the vase.  Their sweet scent now fills the house.  We will watch to see how many additional indoor buds open.  Brown is the color of the buds that remained outside.  Once again we will be denied both the sight and the scent of these early flowers in our garden.

After the deer trimmed Becky's tree peony, a protective wire cage was installed.  It supported both a sleeping bag and plastic tarp that successfully protected its many buds.  When these flowers open, the display should be impressive.

We have never before been aware of frost damage on peas.  Each tiny spike of frost burned a hole where it contacted a leaf surface.  Had I made the rounds with a watering can before sunrise, this injury might have been avoided.  Now we will watch to see if peas can recover from this damage.  Becky's gingered tofu and snow peas is much anticipated treat meal.  I cannot imagine a year without it.  Snow peas can be purchased at market but those will never measure up to our peas picked moments before they go into the pan.  Super meals is a major reason why we continue to grow vegetables.

Many of our lilies sustained damage because their growth tips contacted the covering container.  We considered a quick trip to the store to purchase more super sized trash cans.  There is a limit that even we cannot blow by.  As it is, we store four monster cans that are only used to cover lilies.  At this point we are intending to explore long term refrigerated storage for some of our best bulbs.  Held in dormancy, their time to show above ground growth can be moved closer to favorable conditions.

NOAA failed to warn us of last night's frost.  My last check just before bedtime indicated an overnight low of 45 F.  We frequently have temperatures that are six degrees below the forecast.  This morning featured temperatures at the freezing point with frost and we had covered nothing.  My response was to seriously consider selling the place and moving into senior housing.  Upon reflection that seems quite extreme.  They are only plants and many will adjust to their setbacks.  Most will survive but some will produce no flowers this year.  Perhaps next year will be better.


Beth @ PlantPostings said...

Yes, this is one of the most frustrating things about gardening in a cold climate. I hope the prognosis is much better in the days ahead.

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

Ed I am so sorry to hear of the freeze you had....we got to 32 but I had the beds covered and the flowers under the tree canopy were is quite frustrating when we get these late frosts but even more so with the freezes...I hope things will pick up and you will be rewarded with lots of flowers and veggies.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Good morning, my first visit to your blog. We had very late frosts this year also. I was moving annuals in and out of my garage forever and draping covers over anything I thought might be damaged. Annoying but just the first in a series of many crisis we gardeners face every year.