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.
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!)
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.
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!