Far be it from us to criticize the nation’s most celebrated groundhog, but this year who predicted an early spring when he didn’t see his shadow after emerging from his lair in western Pennsylvania on Feb. 2.
Although the warm weather may not be here yet, if you are setting out transplants early and direct-sowing seeds into the soil, take a few simple precautions to avoid losing your jump-started plants:
- Keep an eye on the weather forecast. If frost is predicted overnight, toss a row cover over young seedlings. (An old bedsheet will work in a pinch, but may be too heavy for delicate sprouts.) If late frosts and chills are a regular feature of your climate, consider putting Haxnicks Fleece Tunnel over the most vulnerable young plants.
- Water early in the day. This ensures that droplets have time to dry, preventing them from freezing on the leaves of your plants.
- Pamper those early tomatoes! If you’re determined to harvest the first tomato on the block, make sure it takes off in style by surrounding the young plants with Kozy Coats. These red plastic teepees fill with water, heating the plants during the day and protecting them during the chilly night.
- Don’t forget bigger plants. If the temperature drops, even established plants or container plantings may be at risk. Pop a Collapsible Plant Protector over them to prevent damage!
- Consider permanent protection. If your growing season is short, if you have a large number of tender plants that you would like to overwinter, or if you simply love getting a head start every spring, consider investing in a portable coldframe. Lightweight and collapsible, you can place it wherever you like, and it will not only protect your tenders and tropicals from winter chills, but also start your new spring garden early and strong!