Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Garden Sabbath?

This has been a miserable year in the garden.  We have an average last frost date of February 15.  I usually plant my seeds in January but in pots where they can be protected easily from frost. But by February, its generally safe to plant out.

This year I planted later because the almanac indicated a late frost.  So I waited until February 15.

And it froze February 17.  I had protected with simple covers over my bean plants and lost them all.  My pots were in the shed where the cold drifted in through a vent I neglected to consider.  I lost about half of my zucchini and cucumber plants and a few tomato plants.

By Feb 27 my plants were busting from their pots.  I planted them out only to go through another freeze March 2 and 3.  I dug out the Christmas lights and spent hours setting them out on plants and covering things with pots and buckets.  Again, I lost half of what was in the garden of my watermelons, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and canteloup.

Thankfully, I sustained no loss from what was in the shed.  I had enough plants to replace those I lots and promptly did so wiping me out of all cucurbits.  I also planted all my sweet potato starts, tomatoes, eggplant, basil, and more beans

Then March 15th, I woke up to a frozen hose that I did not in any way expect.  I left for the weekend and have yet to assess the damage.  If the damage was significant I've decided to take a sabbath rest from gardening this year.

Why did I keep planting before the cold was over?  I've never seen a freeze in March.  Each freeze was separated by warm weather.  And bugs roll in by June so most of those crops need to get in and out quickly to ever see a harvest.  I gambled with mother nature and lost.

I look forward to enjoying it again next year.


  1. That light frost on Mar 15th was a kicker. This was the first year I tried sowing seeds directly into the garden. I have sprouts but I think they are weeds.

    I never thought of using the Christmas light to warm up the plants. I really hope the plants survive! Good luck!

  2. i've been a bit luckier than you, holding off planting till a little later and covering has worked in my favor. but i lost the ENTIRE crop of plums and most of my peaches... it's been a miserable winter garden in that respect, though the usual winter crops like broccoli, spinach, turnips, etc have done well.

  3. Looks like frost TONIGHT for us!!! I can't believe how WEIRD a winter this was. HOT all winter until February and March? UGH. I give up!

  4. I guess I was fortunate that due to circumstances I didn't get my garden in (late) till a month ago-and so far seems to be doing great. (i am also here in Central Florida). Seems like the pecan trees as well as the figs are doing well despite the insane weather.