Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Big Frost

Until now we've had a real Florida winter with temperatures fit for short sleeves, bare legs, and flip flops.  But today, the weathermen are predicting frost for the beaches community.  The potato farmers inland have covered up their crops.  They have buried the potatoes, tops and all, with soil and covered them with frost blankets.  Yesterday, I hilled up my row of potatoes but as soon as it warms up this morning, I will go out and cover them up, too.  The last time we had cold weather, we ignored the warnings and the tender greenery was kissed by the frost but most recovered.

The snap beans were hit by the frost, too.  Some are doing well and others have wilted.  The rows are spotty.  The best to do with the beans is to start all over and grow another crop.  The seeds germinate in about 6 days and the time to mature crop is 40 - 60 days which is rather fast.

The citrus trees are blooming.  The aroma is heavy and sultry.  It just knocks your socks off.  Some people like it and others don't.  The anti-freeze for the trees is to water the roots well in the afternoon and while it is still daylight, throw a bed sheet over them.  The trees on our Back 40 are not tall, so this should work well.  We are staying away from plastic that will harm them more than protect them.  We are concerned about the tender white blossoms getting bit by frost, falling off, and there goes the fruit for next season.

My husband has checked around at our local haunts for Frost Blankets and the folks at the helpful place had some for about $15.  The size of the blanket is 10'x12' and also available in "Bulk Sizes."  It's made of "permeable fabric" and the medium weight is only 1.5 oz.  What?  Yes, that's what it said.  Come dusk, my husband and I will have so much fun under a blanket over a citrus tree.

It seems that the local garden centers carry herb and vegetable plants year around making it difficult to resist buying and planting in hopes for an early harvest.  Of course, it is wonderful to be out in the sunshine and flex some muscles while the temperature is mild.  Who is thinking about frost?  But late February and early March usually come with a frost.  One time is enough to destroy the hard work and set you back.  All you can do is keep on gardening.

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