It's nice to get a jumpstart on your gardens in the spring. If you're like us, you probably have been thinking about what you want to plant since you ran out of time... or budget last summer. Our seasons are beautiful, but unfortunately they are short lived. When the temperatures start to warm up in early spring it is impossible to wait, there is just too much to do!
As long as you know what to expect from the month ahead and how to protect your plants when the temperatures drop below freezing, early spring planting could be a great option.
It's important to note that as long as frost doesn't land on your plants' leaves, your plants will be protected from the cold. All of the techniques shared here are to prevent just that, from frost landing and settling on the leaves over night.
Most Important: Pay Attention To Frost Advisories!
We like to play it safe so temperatures dropping to 3 degrees with a clear starry night sky is enough to make us get the flashlights out, coats on, and family rounded up to help cover the tender plants in the garden centre.
When You Predict Frost Pick One Or Two Of The Following Techniques To Protect Your Plants.
Water later into the afternoon/evening. This may seem counter intuitive at first glance, but moisture creates evaporation. When evaporation occurs, it produces a natural form of heat that rises up around the plant. This, paired with on of the following can help to trap heat around your plants.
#2 Tuck Them In For The Night
When planting, always keep some of your larger pots. Even a 6' pot with a small rock on top of it is a great frost protector for smaller plants. If you have larger new plantings, like a Weeping Japanese Maple? Fitted bed sheets work the best! Extra landscape fabric is also a gold mine to find when you're covering your plants. *** Make sure to remove the covers when the sun comes up, especially if they are black and prevent air flow. This could cause damage during the day.
You can also just bring anything small inside or simply tuck under an over hang or under patio furniture. As long as frost can't land on the leaves they will be protected.
When To Cover Winter Hardy Plants?
You wont have to cover a plant that has already been outside all winter, even if you just planted it last year. In the Fall, as the temperatures dropped, they were "hardened off". Aka they became acclimated to our cold winter environment. New hardy nursery stock and perennials that come in early in the spring have been grown in warmer climates. They are usually a few weeks ahead in their growth cycle. If they have started leafing out prior to the second week in May, keep a close eye out for frost to protect that new growth!
If we get early warm weather, it can push some of out spring blooming trees, like Magnolias into bloom early. If we are getting frost and your tree is small enough to cover, we recommend covering them too!
Tender Annuals That Are Sensitive To Cool Weather Without Frost
There are some annuals that we don't just protect from frost. Coleus, Potato Vine, New Guinea Impatiens, Basil, and Peppers are all cold tender annuals.
When you hear about frost, message a few friends. The warning is always appreciated!