Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dealing With Spring Freezes

 Tuesday, May 21, 2013

55.2° now after a noisy night of pounding rain and winds. Things quieted down just after 4:30 this morning and the lighter rain was a welcome change. Karl the Wonder Dog greatly dislikes rain and thunder and he is now settled in beside me snoring away as if it's just another day in Vermont.

We have been busy at Vermont Flower Farm and many things are coming together at the same time. Worker bee Michael finished up his third year at Castleton and started back with us yesterday and Gail was dancing in great glory to have a helper other than me. Michael and I will work together from 9-noon every day for the next couple weeks before I go to Maine and we will get the daylily beds weeded out so we can begin bringing down the last of the daylilies from the house. Still over a hundred-- I think many more--different daylilies left to move, divide and line out for sales. They are 6-7-8 year old clumps so there are a lot of plants.

During the past week we experienced our typical spring freezes. These are scary days when you have no real idea when the wind will stop and how low the temperatures will fall. The freezes always occur after repetitive days of higher than normal temperature. Our experiences have not often been good ones as anything below 28° will freeze new hosta growth back to the ground and make them useless for sale until late July or early August depending on the summer. We say this from experience because covering a couple thousand square feet of pots as well as the 18,000 square foot display area is just not feasible.

So last week when very low temperatures were predicted,  Gail pulled out a quart of a product she purchased a year back and put on the shelf  "Just in case". It is named FreezePruf and it's made by EcoLogic, the same company that manufactures the Liquid Fence that many of you may use for deer and rodent control. Anyway while I was away Gail mixed it up and sprayed everything in the display gardens and all the potted hostas. Then she covered every potted hosta with whatever she could find from shade cloth still available since it's too early to install it on the shade houses, to plastic tarps. 



The first night the temperature at the house was 26° and I had serious worries. The second night was 25° at our friend Jerry's across the road and up the hill so I knew the hosta display garden would be lower than that. Miracle of miracles the FreezePruff worked and the only losses were leaves that the sprayer missed or leaves that had come in direct contact with the tarps. The tarps conducted the cold and froze the leaves in any place that touched.

Now it's been 3-4 days of waiting to see what the real result is as freezing sometimes takes a bit to really show. Regardless of the time, things look very good and at this point I am really pleased with Gail's purchase. I will not know 100% on this for another week but if what I see now continues, I want to research the product a little more. An anti freeze for my truck is understandable but for plants--I'm still learning.

Time moves on here and I have to get to the farm and get working. If you are out and about over the next few days, stop by and visit. Things are looking great and we hope they continue.

Best gardening wishes from the mountain above Peacham Pond where loons are calling.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and also as George Africa
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm
We're always here to help you grow your green thumb!

1 comment:

Karla said...

That's a beautiful closeup of that hosta! Luckily the temp only went down as far as 30 degrees last week at our place and the plants survived just fine. Glad to hear Gail has some more help now!