by Rachel Pound, Garden & Education Coordinator, Brigit’s Bounty Community Resources
Do you have that itch to get out and plant but know that we are going to get at least one more snowstorm? Here are a few tips to get your hands in the dirt and be prepared for those last few frosty nights….
Now is a great time to start squash and marigold seeds indoors. Keep the plants in a space where they get a lot of sun and stay warm. Don’t forget to water them! Starting the seeds inside gives the squash plants a little head start before transplanting at the end of May. Marigolds make great companion plants in any garden, and, bonus, they keep mosquitos away. Giving these beautiful flowers an early start ensures you will have many full blooms.
There are also a few seeds that can be planted outside at this time. Radishes and carrots can handle the cold and even the occasional frost. Spinach and Kale are some hearty greens that can withstand frost and cooler evening temperatures. Peas can also handle the cooler weather, but they do not like frost on their leaves, so cover them with a bucket or flowerpot when the snow comes through. Be prepared to cover your crops with frost cloth during a snowstorm or when temperatures drop below freezing.
Frost cloth is a great way to protect some of those hardy, cold-tolerant plants. It comes in rolls, so you can use exactly the right amount you need to protect each bed. Some old bedsheets can also do the job (and repurpose fabric that would’ve been thrown away!). The frost cloth allows air and moisture in but prevents the frost from actually touching the leaves. The only downsides to using this cloth are that you have to remember to uncover the plants when there is no danger of frost, and plants can be squished if there is a heavy snow load. The spring snows are typically loaded with moisture which often leads to squished or broken plants. You can cover the plants with an empty pot to prevent this. Hoop houses or cold frames also really come into play here. Simple hoop houses or cold frames are perfect for covering plants, keeping heat in, keeping frost off, and protecting from heavy snow loads. There are so many great ideas out there to create quick and effective DIY solutions. At BBCR, we make simple cold frames out of wire fencing, greenhouse plastic sheeting, and staples. It is a great option that can be reused every year. Come stop by the Giving Garden if you would like to check out our cold frames as an example!
Rachel is the year-round Garden and Education Coordinator at Brigit’s Bounty Community Resources. She creates and facilitates all of the affordable youth programming, manages hundreds of volunteers, attends community outreach events, recruits volunteers, and manages the entire 1-acre Giving Garden. Rachel is integral to the success of the organization. Find out more about Brigit’s Bounty at https://www.brigitsbounty.org/