Can you feel it? The days are getting longer, it’s getting warmer, and then you notice… grass! For the first time in months. Spring is certainly just around the corner. But Mother Nature has a way of easing us out of winter and into spring very slowly. One day the temperatures are warm and you don’t even need a jacket to go outside. The next day you wake up to snow. This transition period can take a toll on your plants.
So how can you protect plants from the ups and downs of spring weather? Here are 3 tips that will help you care for your garden while waiting for spring to fully arrive.
Mark Your Delicate Plants
The first step to taking care of plants is to know their needs. Some plants are more sensitive to temperature change than others. It’s best to mark these plants in summer, if possible, so they are easier to find in the spring. You can mark them with something as small and unnoticeable as a painted popsicle stick, or something as fancy as a decorated rock with the name of the plant painted on it. You can even color-code the markers to help you remember what that plant’s particular needs are.
If you haven’t already done this, no worries; there are still other things you can do to protect your plants from volatile spring weather.
Water Your Plants
This may sound counter-intuitive. After all, water freezes doesn’t it, so wouldn’t that be bad for plants? The truth is, water helps soil to hold in heat; so watering plants lightly will help the soil retain heat, thereby protecting the plant. Just make sure that you water in the early afternoon so the sun has time to warm the soil before the temperature drops. Also, be careful to only water the soil. Getting water on the plant itself might cause the leaves to freeze and that could damage the plant.
Cover Your Plants
It’s important to keep an eye on the thermometer. Warm days can turn into cold nights where temperatures dip below freezing. This can damage plants that have already started to sprout. Covering those plants overnight will not only protect them from frost, but help them retain vital heat that is necessary to keep growing. You can buy commercial plant covers from your local nursery, or make your own by cutting off the top of a milk jug or 2 liter bottle and placing it over the plant.
Looking for more ideas on how to protect your plants? This article by Debbie Arrington has all sorts of suggestions, from planting in raised beds to using old-fashioned Christmas lights as a source of heat. Protecting your plants now will ensure that you’ll be able to enjoy them for years to come.