An Alameda Garden: Fear of Freezing

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Fear of Freezing

At 4:00 p.m. I braced myself with a cup of hot tea and then went out into the garden to do what I could to prepare for what's coming tonight: low temps in the 20s and frost. We had a few nights of frost in December. Frost occurring once in a season is rare enough around here; for it to occur again so soon is really unusual. And the low temps predicted for the next few nights may even break some records.

As a result of our being such weather wimps, not many gardeners in the Bay Area are prepared for frost when it happens. I don't know of anyone around here who keeps frost cloth on hand and I don't think I've ever seen it stocked in a local nursery or garden center. So in order to protect tender plants, one has to get creative.

My frost damage prevention plan is inelegant to say the least, but it worked pretty well last month and I'm hoping it will work again now. Here it is:
  1. Move all small container plants into the mini-greenhouse and zip it up tight. This includes a few small succulents, a couple potted ivy plants, and some other miscellaneous items.
  2. Move as many larger container plants into the carport. This really means the plants that I have in 5-gallon pots. I also moved my two terra cotta strawberry pots into the carport, but wow, that is hard on my back. The other plants in large terra cotta pots are just going to have to tough it out.
  3. Cover the dwarf meyer lemon tree that's planted in a large wine barrel with a cardboard box secured by a strong stake. (I also picked eight ripe lemons, soon to be made into lemon curd.)
  4. Cover the two brugmansias with insulated plastic bags (that my computer was shipped in), secured by stakes. I didn't protect the brugmansias during the last frost and they were slightly damaged, so I wanted to make sure they were covered this time.
  5. Water everything.
  6. Hope for the best.

1 comment:

  1. I hope your plants survived! We're expecting two more cold nights in Davis...and we're weather wimps, too!


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