We just finished winter–I hope–and now spring has decided to come on like a fast-moving train. At 1:00 p.m., it’s 72F with a forecasted high of 81F. Sounds lovely, but it’s also ten degrees too hot for this early in the year. At this rate, my lettuce won’t have a productive end in my salad bowl before it turns bitter. The tulips will grow up too fast like leggy teenagers, open themselves up flat as though in supplication to the sun and then, promptly wither. These temps remind me of 2011, but I’m trying to stay calm. Let’s hope we don’t have another year of hellish temperatures like that one. My soul can’t take it.
Instead, let’s enjoy our current daffodils and fondly remember 2013, when spring began in fits and starts with freezing temperatures as late as May 2, but summer was delightful. For those of you who don’t live in Oklahoma, that’s unheard of, but I was hauling out row covers in early May, and my Sambucus nigra Black Lace was covered in ice on April 10, 2013. Let’s hope the new Itoh peony I planted next to it won’t suffer the same fate.
There’s a few good reasons I’m refreshing your memory about last year. Just because it’s 80F today doesn’t mean it won’t 27F on Friday morning. The forecast is showing great temperatures this week, but if Canada sends a cold front down, our plants will feel it. My bones tell me the freezes are over, but I don’t trust them so here’s my advice.
- Watch your local weather forecasts daily to keep ahead of things.
- If you simply must buy tomato and pepper plants because you think all the good ones will be gone, go ahead and keep them in the house under lights or in a south-facing window. I use lights with an east facing window. My house is a log cabin so it’s dark.
- You may not get a great early spring garden if the temperatures warm up quickly. We’re in this chancy phase of spring where no one really knows what will happen. If we continue to have higher than normal temperatures, hold your beets, turnips, lettuce, spinach, etc. for a fall garden. I’ll tell you when to plant. That can be tricky too.
If you want to take chances, have row covers at the ready. I tested some last year when we had freeze after freeze in April and early May.
Try not to worry. Even if the garden freezes, it will be okay. By mid-May, everything will be blooming again. In meantime, remember to enjoy your garden for a few moments every single day. Life is too short to not enjoy every single Spring day.