How can I protect my plants?!?

phawx(5-6)March 11, 2009

The nursery that I ordered my fruit trees, strawberry plants and potatoes from has already shipped them to me. They'll be arriving over the next few days. Can they really be planted this early in Utah? Our frost free date is typically Mother's day - TWO MONTHS FROM NOW!

Anyone with advice on how to plant and protect all these delicate plants, I would certainly appreciate the help.

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bpgreen(5UT)

I don't know the answer. If you don't get one here, try the Rocky Mountain Gardening Forum.

You could also try the KSL Greenhouse.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 2:13AM
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cyclewest(5A)

Assuming that you ordered them bare-root and the trees are dormant, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Actually, I just did worry when my two pear trees and grape vine arrived the first week of March and the average temperatures were in the 30's, followed by the high teens. I actually called the nursery, since they guarantee plants for a year. If the ground isn't frozen and you don't expose the roots to freezing temperatures (don't plant when temps are below freezing, not that you would want to be outside...) you should be okay to plant dormant trees/plants that you would expect to survive your winters eventually. I planted mine last Saturday before about 8' of snow fell the following Mon/Tues a week or so ago. They're still dormant, like all of my other trees, so I won't find out for sure for a while longer...

Strawberries are pretty frost tolerant, although that may also depend on the variety. Mine from prior years are already sprouting new leaves and I'm typically still harvesting strawberries after the last frost of the year.

I can't say I have much or any experience with potatoes. Are they starts or transplants? Usually transplants that have leaves need to gradually be acclimated to your conditions, since they were grown in a greenhouse.

My directions said that you can keep them in a cool dark place and keep them watered but not soaking if you want to delay planting. I wouldn't wait too long though. The weather was gorgeous today...

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 1:49AM
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phawx(5-6)

Considering the gorgeous weather we have been having, perhaps my concerns were a bit premature!

The trees are all dormant bare-root. We planted the peach yesterday and will be planting the apples and walnut sometime this week. The weather yesterday was wonderful and I'm hoping to get the others in the ground before the cold nights come again.

The strawberries were not what I expected them to be (I was expecting plants, we got roots w/the plants all cut down) Made much more sense when I saw them :) They have been planted as well and we'll just hope for the best. They are Ozark Beauty Everbearing Strawberries.

I did notice that we are supposed to have snow/rain and freezing temps again this weekend, so we are looking in to mulch options to cover the ground. We have some old hay from back in October when our son set it on fire (long story)and that may be our only option since money is tight.

The potatoes are all seed potatoes. We have the bed ready for those now, and I'll be planting them Thursday evening. Instructions said to cut them in to pieces and allow them to air dry for a few days before planting, so that is what we did last night with them. Again, we may just cover the box with a layer of the hay to keep the ground from freezing.

We're obviously still learning, trying to figure all of this out, but we're sure having fun with it!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 12:33PM
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bpgreen(5UT)

You're probably fine planting trees and so forth, but not for things like tomato or pepper plants. My rule of thumb for those is Mothers day.

It has been a long time since I've bought strawberry plants, but I think what you got is what you're supposed to get. If you get plants, the leaves will probably drop off when you transplant them.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 12:21AM
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amlinde78(5)

Your strawberries came correctly and it is a good time to plant them. Next time you buy strawberries I would definately recommend different varieties. There are so much better ones now. Look for Chandler, Ventana for your June bearing varieties and Diamante, Albion for your everbearing. You will get bigger, better tasting strawberries and they are more disease resistant. I wrote about these on my blog if you are interested

http://www.vegenag.com/2009/03/strawberries-in-utah/

As for potatoes here is the Utah State Univ fact sheet on them

http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/publication/HG_Garden_2005-13.pdf

Hope this helps

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 12:01PM
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phawx(5-6)

Very helpful information, thank you.

So far I've seen no visible signs of problems with anything, though the weather all week is going to be miserable so who knows :(

The strawberry bed, assuming it survives and thrives, will only be in place for 2-3 years. They are planted around the peach tree, and I don't really want a strawberry patch there once the tree starts fruiting. So we'll likely replace them with a different type when we move the bed. The type we got this year was the nursery's choice. I figured since I knew nothing about them, we'd just start with that and see how things went.

I actually prefer small berries to large berries. I have 5 munchkins that will eat and eat and eat and eat and eat them all day long, so the smaller, the better. That is the sole purpose of growing them. I have no plans to do jams or anything else with them. Perhaps when we move the bed we'll have enough experience to try that.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 12:23PM
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