13October 19, 2017
I’m guessing that some of you had a frost at your home early on Tuesday morning. A frost will kill off your annual flowers and some of your vegetable plants. A frost would probably kill your tomato plants. But a frost doesn’t mean the end of the growing season. Your hardy mums can withstand a light to moderate frost. Your kale and your lettuce will survive a light to moderate frost. If you look at the weather report for the rest of the week, the temperatures are going back up again. The cold tolerant plants will shake off the cold and go back to growing again.
Something that I hear every year after we have had a frost is customers saying that they would like to plant tulip bulbs or that they would like to plant some shrubs but they feel that they cannot do this because “ we have had a frost. “ You still have time to plant shrubs and you still have time to plant your tulip and daffodil bulbs. Let’s start with shrubs. People think that if they plant shrubs now, the frost that comes again will kill the shrubs. I usually ask people if there are shrubs in their neighborhood. I’ll ask them if the shrubs die each year. Of course the shrubs don’t die. The shrubs are acclimated to surviving the cold temperatures in our area. Shrubs planted now will put out a strong root system in the still warm soil. If you plant the shrubs in a good quality soil, keep the soil moist and put some mulch around the plant, there is no reason that the plants won’t survive.
If you want to plant your spring flowering bulbs, there is still time to do so. Tulip and daffodil bulbs are planted about 6 inches deep in the soil. Normally it takes a long time for the soil to freeze solid to a depth of 6 inches. You can have a series of frosts and the soil that deep will still be relatively warm, allowing the bulbs to get their root system established. Once you get the bulbs planted, you want to keep the soil moist. This will aid in the development of roots. If you are worried about the temperatures freezing the ground, put about 3 inches of mulch on top of where you planted the bulbs. The mulch acts like insulation to slow down the process of the ground freezing to a depth that would affect the growth of the roots of your bulbs.
Remember, a frost may mean that you lose the tomato plants. It doesn’t mean that you cannot plant anything in your yard.
Many of you will plant paperwhite bulbs indoors for a touch of spring when the outside temperatures get nasty. The majority of the paperwhite bulbs are grown in Israel. There has been a problem with getting a good crop of paperwhite bulbs the last couple of years. The quantities that are available are extremely limited.
As a heads-up, if you want paperwhite bulbs to plant in your home or if you want to give them as a holiday gift, you should buy the bulbs sooner rather than later. Last year, we ran out of the bulbs before Christmas and there were no additional bulbs to be had. We have received a shipment of bulbs this past week and hopefully have another shipment coming in mid-November. So, a word to the wise, if you want paperwhite bulbs, buy them sooner rather than later.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.