Moving into May – and my isn’t this 2013 slipping by fast – the danger of frost is gone for most gardeners, but it’s been a wacky enough spring.
Last average frost date for our zone 6 area is about April 15th. As usual, we were a little ambitious and set out tomato and pepper seedlings a week before, and got whacked for it. We’ve had three days of near freezing overnight temps since then. Besides shuttling young plants in and out of the house and covering young plants with black trash bags, there’s a couple of low-maintenance ways for protecting tomatoes from the frost.
First up, just simple rocks.
Stones provide good thermal mass. If you’ve got the time and inclination, it’s a very good idea to build raised beds with brick or stone borders. The stones (or bricks) absorb heat during the day, and release it slowly at night. The Juliet tomato seedling shown above has come through the last three weeks with flying colors.
Not that this is a guaranteed method. Out of ten plants ringed with rocks and bricks, eight have had some form of leaf damage, and two have given up the ghost entirely.
Another way is to get a Wall O’ Water, or Wall-O-Water
(however the hell it is you write it).
A Wall-O-Water is a round cylindrical array of water columns. Fill them in at the top, and then place it over the seedling. Water acts the same way as masonry, absorbing heat during the daylight hours, and releasing it at night. Come to think of it, you could take used water bottles, and arrange them in a circle around the plants, bet that would work fine as well. Anyway, get you a three-pack of Wally Waters, they work just fine. Follow the link above, get ‘em through Amazon, and this blog will be enriched by the princely sum of $0.15 per sale (or thereabouts… who’s counting?).
This tidbit might not be at all useful for folks in planting zones 6 to 9 (for North American readers), but anyone gardening north of us in zones 5 down to 1a, take heed. Sudden snap frosts might persist through the month of May.
This has been another gardening interlude with your host, marginally competent tomato grower 101 Centavos. Thanks for dropping in. And click on the banner below, it’s good for the site.