Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Spring winds and planting your garden
The toll wind can take on your plants can be huge, it can set them back weeks and even kill them. My main concern is to try to set up my garden beds where I can give them a wind break in the spring. I can do this in various ways, by making a hoop house out of PVC pipe then placing a cover over the PVC pipe and creating a mini green house, that really helps and is probably the best solution. It takes time money, effort and sometimes I am short on all of the above. So, a lot of the times I like to just lean pallets up against my garden beds. In doing so this will help break the wind, slowing it down a bit. I am just trying to keep the wind from whipping my plants to death. It is a very easy solution and inexpensive. Pallets can be found easily and most places of business give them away.
Every year when spring starts a gardeners heart goes a twitter. My friends and neighbors start planting in the dirt and getting there gardens in the ground. Oh this should be good you say, but it generally ends up in decay and heart ache.
There has been many a friend that tried to beat mother natures last frost date. It is not wise to try to fool with mother nature. Most of the folks I am speaking of have there tomatoes and peppers in the ground weeks to early. Our last freeze date in my area is May 28th and my good neighbors usually put there plants in two to three weeks before this. Sometimes they make it through with no freezes but with the cool nights the ground is still cold.The plants just will not grow until the ground warms up.
Your tomatoes and peppers really need to go in the ground not after the last freeze but when the soil is warm enough for them to grow. You can help this by using something dark on the ground a cloth or a tarp. Something dark that will get hot during the daytime works well. Leave your ground cover in place for a good two weeks or more, this will help warm the ground. I usually plant the week after the last freeze date and I cover the ground for a few weeks before that to get the ground good and warm.
That puts my garden a good three weeks behind my neighbors. By planting my tomatoes and peppers so much later you might think my plants will be behind and never catch up to my farming friends but no that is not generally the case, there plants have yet to grow. I like to plant my tomatoes at around 8 weeks of age in a bed that has been warmed up a bit and protected from the wind. In a few weeks my plants will be larger than most of my farming buddies and that is how it will be for the rest of the year in most cases. My friends ask me where did I get those plants, they are miracle plants.
In my experience with tomato and pepper plants is planting them when they are 6 to 9 weeks of age for my tomatoes and about 12 weeks old for my peppers. When I plant them I want them in a warm spot protected from the harsh wind. As for my neighbors they planted their plants way too early, some did fair to good in the end most did not. Most froze the others were beaten to death from the wind. Most had to replant.
I think a plant that just sits in a cold bed for weeks gets stunted. Between the wind and the cold it is just lucky for a plant to be alive let alone put out much as far as fruit after sitting in a cold bed for weeks.