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nipped in the bud

May 13, 2010
By Stephanie Bethke-DeJaeghere

It seemed strange, at best, to look out of the window at 6 a.m. this past Sunday to see the white leaves of the green, green grass. Was it spring or fall out there? Jack Frost had considered his options and was working with Mother Nature just to make sure gardeners had it straight who was really in charge in the great out doors.

A quick look around and I noted that only one plant seemed to have suffered at his hands this time around. The potato plants. They were about six to eight inches tall before Sunday morning, but from the way they are looking, I would say they are now a respectable four inches tall.

The prescription for plants that were hit hard by the frost or at least nipped 'in the bud' is to leave them alone. They will be fine. Yes, there may be a few perennial flowers out there that are not feelings so very well this past week but they will more then likely live. Will they flower? It depends on how much of the plant will die back according to the frost they received. They may not flower this year but next year they will be OK. Is there much to do about it? No, not really. We don't have any magic potion or lotion or spray that will bring back the flower buds that Jack Frost nipped in the night.

If you had annual plants that were hard hit by frost, you might want to consider cutting them back or since it is still early in the planting season, you might just want to go and purchase some new plants. We still can have frost until about the 15th of May but most gardeners who have been around for a while will tell you to wait until May 20th, just to be safe. I would be careful not to set out any plants unless it is container plants that you can carry into your garage for protection.

If you feel the need to buy plants, go ahead just keep them under wrap until we get past this weekend. Even then, I would be very careful of watching the weather especially on those days that they talk about the weather getting around 30 degrees. It really makes a difference too, if we are clouded over or if we have a clear night. A cloudy night may be OK since it helps to keep the heat in but a crystal clear night may allow you to have some problems with your plants becoming nipped.

You can cover them with plastic or blankets, if you have enough to cover everything. If you are like me, I have way too much to cover and it really wouldn't be realistic to do so.

The plants that may have received frost this time around can have some serious problems if they receive frost again before the weather gets better. These are now the plants that we need to watch in our gardens. We will need to provide protection for them, if we can, if Jack Frost comes calling again this spring.

Don't Forget! The Lyon County Master Gardeners are sponsoring a Garden Day and Plant Sale on May 15 at Adult Community Center in Marshall noon-4pm. Topics are Emerald Ash Borer, Modern Food Preservation, Rain Barrels, Water Conservation and Rain Gardens. Admission is $3 or $2 with a food item for the food shelf.



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