Psychotic Weather Hampers Gardener's Early Starts

March was the warmest month on record nationwide. With temperatures in the Midwest nearing 90 many of us had to turn on the AC several months earlier than expected. This also urged on many eager gardeners to plant out in the garden at least two months earlier that is usual (or prudent) for the Midwest. Well, with dropping temperatures this past couple weeks we have learned our lesson.

Though I didn’t personally plant any seedlings out in the garden there were many volunteer tomatoes that we looked forward to cultivating and moving once they got big enough. I actually had forgotten about them until this Monday when my daughter remembered she was drawing the seedlings progress for a science project. Needless to say my heart dropped. We had a freeze warning the previous Thursday and we had not been out in the garden all weekend. When we got out to the garden my daughter’s first words were, “OH NO, they’re gone!”, which confirmed my fear. The freeze of last Thursday did “cook” the tender tomato seedlings leaving them as little brown dried out hairs on the garden. As I peeled them back I was surprised and happy to find that three or four in the center of the clump had survived. They didn’t look happy but they were still alive. So I got a small plastic jug and a tiny branch and created a little greenhouse for the seedlings. I surrounded the bottom of the bottle, that was cut out to cover the seedlings, with a little mound of mulch to keep the bottle seated firmly in the garden and the stick I pushed into the garden through the top opening of the bottle to keep it from tipping or getting blown away. Hopefully, in two more days when we have to go out and check on them again they will still be alive.

Tonight will be a serious problem. There is a hard freeze warning in effect for our tristate area. Both my husband and my mother have asked today if we have seen the snow. SNOW!!!?!!!? After 90 degree weather now we have snow – will wonders never cease. So, I have to cover my young blueberry bush, the fig tree and check on the seedlings. Keep an eye out on your tender plants. If you have a chance before it gets too dark cover your tender plants.

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