Six on Saturday: May 9th

The tulips are nodding, but maybe they will perk up.

Last night’s 24 degrees F broke the record (28 degrees) for May 9 that was recorded in 1947, the year I was born. That really puts the night’s freeze in perspective. My dad always said “A thunderstorm in January means a hard frost in May” and also that “the coldest nights usually come during a full moon,” so I checked the almanac for the date and waited. I’m glad I followed his wisdom and delayed planting any tender crops, even though some warmer days earlier on made it very tempting. I covered the blooming strawberries, and thought about picking all the tulips, but then decided to risk it. The tulips are nodding a bit in some areas, but overall they look okay at this point. We’ll see later in the day if I made the wrong decision if all the petals drop.

Even after these many decades of gardening through various experiences, I’m still surprised (or maybe I just forgot!) by what might be damaged by a freeze. For instance, lemon balm is a hardy perennial herb. I thought it wouldn’t be phased but this morning most of it’s leaves are entirely black.

It looks worse in person, but I’m confident it will recover fine.

And I’d always thought peas were indestructible in cold weather, but this morning I have peas with mushy stems and floppy leaves. (Even all those still lingering volunteer dill seedlings that were supposed to be gone didn’t help protect the peas!)

These “Sprite” peas are flat! Will they rebound? Interestingly, the “Green Arrow” peas nearby climbing their fence seem fine!
Maybe I should have covered these young nasturtiums? Fortunately there’s another flat in the greenhouse. Not the same color, but they will do.
There was still some space on the floor. Maybe I should have carried more flats inside…..

It’s times like these when I’m glad to have even a small greenhouse. I sure wouldn’t have wanted to have to carry all these flats (and the ones on the shelves you can’t see) back to the basement.

No, I didn’t plant these! What were they thinking? (And note the lack of social distancing…)

As I was leaving the potager after covering the strawberries and turning on the greenhouse heater, I spied this little clump of “Indigo Cherry” tomatoes volunteers. I didn’t grow any of that variety this year so I probably should have grabbed a trowel, stuck them in a pot and tucked them into the greenhouse as well. But it was still early, and thinking there would be enough heat in the ground, I put a heavy terracotta pot upside down over them and plugged the drainage hole and left. They look pretty skwishy and browned now, but some of them might make it. Only time will tell.

So, that’s my six for this chilly, breezy, but sunny Saturday in May. It looks like I can finally plant on Wednesday, if the soil temperatures rise enough. If you’d like to see more SOS offerings, click on The Propagator, who hosts this meme.

Stay home, stay safe and keep gardening! Warmer weather will come soon!

About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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8 Responses to Six on Saturday: May 9th

  1. Jo Shafer says:

    Oh, dear, Carolee, I didn’t realize that Indiana is in the path of a polar vortex. And here, in Central Washington, I worry about my own potager on chilly nights. Herbs do fine, and the Old Roses, but my darling baby Brandywine tomato I feel I must coddle and protect. Well, it’s just fine.

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  2. bcparkison says:

    40’s here was cold enough .I had already put away the elect. room heater and had to bring it back out for my craft room. What kind of heat do you use in your green house. I have never put heat in mine but might need to rethink that.

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    • carolee says:

      It’s an electric heater on a thermostat. My greenhouse is not very efficient…not nearly as good as my old home-made ones at the homestead, or the commercial ones at the herb farm, but it’s what I have….so….Stay safe & well.

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  3. Ooh I heard about that on the news, that’s such a trip! Meanwhile here on the Oregon coast we’ve had 3 days in a row of unseasonably high temps, getting close to 80 (normal is around 65) so I actually had to shade my spinach to make sure it didn’t bolt!

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    • carolee says:

      My friends in England and daughter in Germany report unusually high temps there, too. Too bad we can’t get things to balance out a bit! I imagine we will pay dearly for this cold in summer with extreme heat as well. THanks for the comment!

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  4. We are just about to get a frost in the UK tonight after many weeks of warm weather. Your post has just sent me out into the gardens to protect a whole host of tender plants. Fingers crossed!

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