We are about to pay the piper. You just had to expect that the summer like weather wouldn’t stay and that we were likely in for a return to more normal temperatures and sure enough, here they come. Tonight they are forecasting a low of -3C and by Monday night -5C. The freezing temperatures are a bit worrisome given how far ahead the gardens are this year. My magnolia buds are bursting with pink color, the forsythia are in full bloom, the serviceberry buds are swollen and the crab apples are showing signs of green. All this is at risk given the freezing temperatures ahead but mother nature is fickle. I’ve reveled in the unusually warm temperatures we’ve had the past couple of weeks, taking every opportunity to enjoy the outdoors so no, I won’t complain when we are given a little setback.
We debated about trying to cover some of our ornamental gardens but really, where do you start and where to you stop? It’s only March. Am I going to struggle protecting plants until the end of May? This I think takes away from the enjoyment of what gardening is. So if I miss out on some blooms this year, so be it. I’ll look at the upside — perhaps some cold weather will kill a few early arriving bugs.
For the vegetable garden however, it’s another story. We have pushed the envelope quite a bit this year. We are already eating spinach from plants kept alive under cover all winter and will likely be eating lettuce within a week. Last week I took a chance and planted kale, turnips, peas, pak choi and more lettuce and spinach in the garden, most of which have sprouted. So out came the frost protection for the next couple of days. Personally I like things to be easy. I picked up these row covers last week at Lee Valley for less than $8 each. They have strong steel supports that fit into pre-sewn channels and the ends have draw strings that close the opening at night. Wish I had bought more. These, combined with our mini-greenhouses purchased last year made quick work of covering most of the garden.