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Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

Posted by grrloutloud 6A (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 5, 10 at 12:08

With weather this wonderful in Boston, I'm having a hard time believing that we're going to see another frost this season.

Is anyone else fudging their plant out dates a little because of the weather we're having?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

I don't understand the question.

The tender annuals, like tomato plants aren't remotely big enough to plant out. I just pricked them out of the seed starting mix Saturday. For hardy plants, I'd have no problem planting them out, if I could find them. If your garden centers are getting them in, it isn't that early.


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

I put out some of my houseplants. The azalea, brugmansia and lantana because they can take the cool nights now. I may set out some potted primulas if I have time to plant them out. The pots are too small to leave unwatered for more than a day outdoors, and I'm going away for a few days. (Need a break from bailing out the basement for the past week!)

I'll wait another two weeks or so before planting out the annuals. It used to be that we had to wait until mid-May but the past several years it seems late April has been OK. They'll still have a good start for the season.


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

We had a late frost that almost caught my tomato plants last year. I used to garden on a little hilltop surrounded by trees which held the heat a little better. I could see gardens in the low areas hit by frost that didn't get us. But now I'm in one of those lower areas. Fortunately, my husband saw the frost alert on the weather report and we covered each plant with a 5 gallon bucket or blankets. Anything that didn't get covered got hit. I'm using Agribon-19 on my vegetable beds this year.


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

I'm moving my terra cotta pots out of the garage. The plants are all either hardy or dead, but the pots can't take a joke when it comes to freezing while wet. I'll have to start watching the frost alerts and keep a blanket handy to cover them up - or at least check that they're fairly dry - if we have a freeze. Or, maybe a little frost won't hurt them; it's the expanding soil that snaps them into pieces that I really worry about.

But the short answer to your question is that yes, I'm ready to believe there won't be a hard frost now. We might "tickle" 30, as Matt Noyes said this morning (regarding approaching 80 on Wednesday) but there's not much chance of a really deep freeze at this point, so hardy annuals are probably going to do fine.


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

It is one of the earliest springs that I can remember as far as blooming magnolias, forsythias, and cherry trees. The weather has certainly been spectacular in between each apocalyptic rain storm. I think the major urban areas (Boston, Providence, Hartford)have probably seen their last frost already (and I only mean in the cities). But I am going to play it safe and follow the normal schedule for setting out pots and annuals, etc.


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

I ALMOST went to the garden center today to at least start the pots for my stoop steps that I can easily bring in if needed...but knew that I'd also walk out with something for my large (immovable) container so I stopped myself from even being tempted by staying home haha. But I'm sooooo anxious! I've been dying to get some topiaries at Haskell's in New Bedford. I'm going to go next week and keep them in the sunroom if needed.

I was doing my morning weeding today, though, and kept eying the snow shovel, which is leaning against the shed. As soon as I put it away, it will snow again. So against the shed it still is. ;-)


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

"...As soon as I put it away, it will snow again..."

LOL, that's the same reason I'm afraid to take my snow tires off!

:)
Dee


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 5, 10 at 17:03

Something in the back of my head keeps whispering that this lovely weather is a trap.... I did put the snow shovel in the shed, but I'm keeping the rubber treads on the outdoors steps until there's less chance of ice. I'm also keeping the hardier houseplants in the house a wee bit longer. I unplugged the heated birdbath but left it in place.

Tiny steps to acknowledge this may actually be spring, but only tiny.

Claire


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

"...As soon as I put it away, it will snow again..." HA!!! I'm in Saco Maine and during this beautiful weekend we just had, we tilled, composted, and organized and i'm READY to go! I sent my husband to Lowe's today after work for some flexible pipe and clear plastic. We're going to make a make-shift "hoop-house" so w can drop our seeds this coming weekend. We'll buy plants for our tomatos and green peppers, and we started all of our hot peppers in the Earthbox. Spring is here! quick, plant before it freezes again :)


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

Yes, but a little trepid. It finally occured to me to start hardening off the geraniums that I overwintered in the house. I can't believe I didn't do that last weekend. D'oh! Anything I take out can be taken into the garage or covered should the need arise. I won't harden off the seedlings anytime soon, though. I'm not that cavalier. Our last frost date is 5/31.


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

Yes I certainly have been feeling cavalier (great word isn't it?)
I hope someone can give me an answer, I have overwintered tuberous begonias in a root seller environment. When can I bring them out and start watering them?


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

Hahahaha. I just went to the garden center I usually buy from and was DENIED! Nothing out but pansies, for the most part. (and lots of potted bulbs.) I was all set to do my stoop pots and put them in the sun room. I suppose I could shop around...but maybe it's a sign I should just chill. LOL


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

The dahlias and callas were potted up about a week ago. That isn't to go out, but to go in the dining room window. I'd expect begonias to be on about the same schedule.


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Warm=nice visit: RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier abo

Well it's been warmer than usual for sure. My pear tree (eating kind.........not Bradford) is in bloom as of today. Normally it's around the beginning to middle of May. I was in NYC last week (needed a break from bailing out for 4 days straight!) and the weather was incredible! Upper 80's and possibly hit 90 on Wed. Went to the NY Botanical Garden for the orchid show, which was unbelievable! Also caught all the magnolias and the weeping cherry trees at their peak, with THOUSANDS of daffodils all over the hills and pathways! The gardens are perfectly manicured and I would easily compare the conservatory with the one at Kew in England, which I saw last May. I will definitely go back! I would also like to see the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. If it's as nice as the NYBG (which I have heard it is) it will be a pleasure for sure.


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

My zone here (6b) is pretty much the same as where I grew up in SE Massachusetts. . .but I can never recall anything quite like this ! With so many garden standards so far ahead of schedule (today, my peonies measured 22" tall loaded with buds and all the requisite ants!), I've grudgingly decided to leave it in Mother Nature's hands. All the house plants are already outside (and thriving); only decision left to make is: do I sneak the tomato plants in early (and watch like a hawk for frost alerts), or wait 'til Mother's Day, our usual "last frost" date?

Carl


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 11, 10 at 14:45

Ah, the NYBG! That was my all year round favorite botanical garden to visit when I lived in NYC, but BBG was a close second.

The BBG is tops when it comes to cherry trees - Hanami and Sakura Matsuri celebrate the mind-boggling cherries with Japanese style (the Japanese Garden is great too) and the conservatory is in the same league as the NYBG conservatory. Check out the CherryWatch Blossom Status Map on the website - it shows the bloom status of each of the trees.

Definitely go back to the Bronx and be sure to visit Brooklyn too.

Claire


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

I picked up some rosemary, plugs of some tender grasses, and a Pelargonium x hortum 'Vancouver Centennial' (never knew the name of this before, but it's mighty cute, with angular variegated foliage). These will all be going into pots so they should be safe from frost - I can cart them back and forth if necessary. But it sure was nice to be spending money at a nursery again!


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

I want to put in my tomato plants next weekend, but I probably will wait one more week, so YES I am cavalier and giddy! I'm pretty sure that I've never planted them before mid May at least!( I do have plastic buckets just in case) ;0


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

Tomatoes won't do well in the cold, and getting chilled just makes them stall; it takes a long time for them to catch up. Personally, if I had any tomato or pepper plants, I'd be moving them in and out of the house, morning and evening, until the soil was really warm. Pondlily, do you have a thermometer you can use to check the soil temperature?

Bill & Claire - I agree about the NYBG - although the orchid show leaves me a bit cold - it's really over the top. I tend to escape from my family and head over there for a day alone whenever I'm in the city. Love the conifer gardens especially. Nearby, the Wave Hill garden is also a great place to browse - it's very different, more of a 'personal' garden. Have not yet made it to the BBG, but it's on my list.


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

I've had good luck using 'wall of waters' around early tomato and pepper plants. Keeps them pretty toasty and they continue to grow and are about over the top of it by the time it is warm enough to remove them. I also grow in rai*sed beds, so the soil warms up faster. Right now in the rai*sed beds, my chives are up over a foot and as*paragus is ready to pick.

Oh, and I enjoyed that link to the BBG Cherry trees. Wish I could get there. I find I have an increased interest in cherry trees lately. I wonder if anyone has a favorite tree of those they've seen? They all look so good! I've seen some along the Charles in Boston recently, but they looked a little tired. I imagine they don't receive much attention once planted. I notice some of the BBG varieties seem to produce fruit too.


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

I was very disappointed to see that (the South Portland, Maine) Home Depot was selling tomato plants this last weekend... and people were buying them!! There are going to be a lot of disppointed new gardeners with stunted tomato plants (if they aren't killed outright) this summer...

OTOH, I'm planting a new shrub/perennial bed right now and so glad of the extra time to do it before things warm up. And my vegetable bed already has lettuce, spinach, and peas coming up from direct seeding in March. Potatoes go in next week.

And it's been fabulous weather to get bare lawn areas re-seeded!


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

PM2, I have 2 Kwanzan cherries that were here when I moved in, 20 years ago or so, and I don't recommend them!

They're a lovely cotton-candy shade of pink for a couple of weeks; their bark is "sort of" interesting; and other than that they're just messy, boring trees, without an especially interesting or graceful form. Winter moths love them, which makes growing things under them all but impossible - anything like hosta, hellebores, or fine-leaved perennials get clobbered by falling petals and caterpillar offal raining down. Maybe there are better varieties - these would certainly make a statement for drive-by viewing but come up short on closer inspection.

There are so many bright colors at the same time as the cherries bloom. So, I've headed away from spring-flowering trees for this reason, and would choose something like witch hazel for winter color, Heptacodium and/or Franklinia for fall, or Stewartia for summer. Those seasons need that infusion of color more than early spring, IMHO!


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

Thanks for letting me know how you are experiencing your Kwanzan Cherry trees. They are gorgeous when they are in bloom, I've seen them, but you are so right, if you don't have a large property where you can waste the space on something that is in bloom for 2 weeks, why do it. I think I would be unhappy with that. The only flowering tree I've added to the garden is the 'Constellation' Dogwood. It amazed me last year how long it was in bloom. There were still a few white bracs left on it in August. I do like Stewartias and never think of them and love witch hazels which I haven't added yet. Maybe I will have to make a point of getting out to visit gardens when the cherry trees are blooming instead. :-)

pm2


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RE: Is anyone else feeling a little cavalier about frost?

Staceyneil, I've caught the SP HD selling zone 6/7 plants, and they don't just don't understand. Ugh. I used to give my clients gift cards to HD for closing gifts, but I won't now because of the nursery.


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