Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Eighty-degree days, balmy nights, what can that mean in Virginia in April? Why, a hard freeze must be just around the corner! I mean, tonight! And a couple more nights this week...
The unpredictable weather in April is "why we can't have nice things!" Only kidding, there are lots of beautiful plants in April: forsythia, daffodils, dogwoods, saucer magnolias and quince, just to name a few. But the "nice things" I was referring to are the heat-loving veggies, like tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, basil and squash. If you set these plants out recently....that is, before our last average frost date (end of April), seduced by the warm weather, you are now paying the price of having to cover them up. And there is another price, too, one you might not easily see: the cold can check or stunt the growth of these heat lovers, even if you endeavor to keep them as snug as possible.
I recently sort of joined the ranks of early planters, by setting out three tomato plants...but I planted them into wall-o-waters, the (trademarked) system to keep the plants warm enough to thrive, even in a cold snap (see recent post). But, even I had to rush out after work to cover the open tops of these contraptions to keep in some accumulated heat. We'll see how they do!
So, the moral of the story? Wait until your last average frost date to set out heat-loving plants!