19 April 2014
Winter's icy fingers still grasp at the farm
Brace yourself, dear reader, for more whinging about the weather...
Earlier this week, the lows on consecutive nights were respectively: 23, 26, 27 degrees; hard freezes. The day (April 15th, a chilling day in more ways than one) the cold front blew in, the temperature was 58F at sunrise and by sunset had plunged to 29F. The wind was howling all day, sucking the warmth right out of the ground, then ceased early in the night so the cold air could settle on the ground.
I borrowed large black rubber calf feeding tubs from my kind neighbor, Clay, and covered plants with those and five gallon buckets. A bale of straw was broken open and spread over several plant beds surrounding the house. A few small potted plants were carried indoors.
The tulips about to open were cut and placed in vases as were several dozen daffodils, all contributing to a delightful scent and clusters of brilliant colours about the house.
The results after three consecutive freezing nights were not good. The tulips froze, both flower stems and leaves; it remains to be seen if the plants can recover from their prostrate condition. The daffodils had been blooming well - the yellow flowers froze although the white flowers appear to avoided damage (can any reader illuminate us on why the difference?). Peonies were just beginning to emerge from their long sleep and their damage is yet to be determined precisely. At least 80% of the cherry tree blooms were affected. The lilacs and redbuds were just beginning to open and have, a week later, hardly progressed - they may be damaged also.
The single most devastated plants were the wild ferns; 100% are now brown and thoroughly dead. Perhaps the phenomena has simply escaped Mr. Fuzzy's observation in past years but I cannot recall ever seeing fern mortality of this degree before.
Life is nonetheless sprouting all about, well, at least in the Jiffy Pots: marigolds, zinnias, nasturtiums, etc. In a couple of weeks, the peppers, squashes and eggplants will be started in Jiffy Pots, ready to be planted outdoors by the end of May. Rest assured that all worthy news of Stratheden Farms and its residents will be duly posted for your illumination.
A Happy Easter to all.