Saturday, April 19, 2014

Whew! Dodged a bullet with this surprise frost.

Now yall tease, but this past winter has been a pretty cold one for our area.  We had the bitterly cold days, snow, and wind all at some time this winter.  It began a bit early and lasted a little longer.  This is a problem for a woman (Me) who begins thinking of gardening around Dec 26th(smile).  Once we entered April I was feeling like we had passed the coldest part and it would be safe to start planting outside.  This year I am trying to go exactly with the Farmers Almanac in my planting dates.  According to them that was this past weekend.  The advantage would be we would be planting right before rain.  So this past weekend Dh and I got out in the garden and got everything turned under and all the seeds planted.  I also had about 8 tomato plants planted.  Yay right?  Well then we have rain come in but then I find I am faced with another hard freeze.  Like 28 degrees for more than 4 hours.  Yikes and Yikes!  I wasn't worried about the seeds in the ground.  We had covered the rows with straw, but I was facing my little, now transplanted, tomato plants and my blueberry bushes (covered in now open white blooms) freezing overnight.  Talk about your fly by the seat of your pants situation.

Don't they say necessity is the mother of invention?  I think I heard that somewhere.  Well that is what I did.  Come up with something, anything that would work. 

So for my blueberry bushes:  All I needed was to keep the temp around the bushes above the freezing mark.  There was no way I would be able to cover them completely because they are some pretty good size bushes.  I have two lighted boxes my dad made.  They have two light bulbs each and plug in to an outlet to generate warmed for seed starting.  I would be using them as a heat source.

 I laid one box on the ground under each group of three bushes.  Then I covered the bushes as much as I could with a tarp.  I had to string the tarps on rope and stake them down due to high winds.  Had it been the winds would last all night I wouldn't have minded the cold temps as much, but the winds were due to die down after sundown.  So the plan was that the box would heat up the area and the tarps would hold it close to the bushes.  It seems to have worked.  We will see how my blueberries produce in a few months.

For my tomato babies I took a quart size mason jar and put it over each plant.  These plants are already surrounded by a cage, so I filled the cage with pine straw.  This morning seems to be the best time to remove the jars and see how my plants fared.  Well they are all alive.  I can say with confidence.  Which is huge.  About 40% are "what just happened?, where am I ?", but the other 60% are happy as clams.  I am hoping the shell shocked 40% bounce back, but if not, a 60% success rate beats a 0% success rate.  These were tomato plants that weren't happy to begin with so for it to be that positive an outcome makes me happy indeed.  The rest of my plants that have yet to be put in the garden were brought in for a few days.  Last night was their first night outside again and they have fared well.

Today is my birthday and so it is off to thrift store shopping.  Yay.

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