Don’t Sweat the Cold

April 3, 2011 at 9:00 am 1 comment

It’s springtime in Colorado. We occasionally get nights where it dips back into the 20s. It’s part of the Earth’s cycle of waking up, like when you yawn, stretch and then fall back onto the pillow to snooze for a few more minutes.

If you’re like me, you’ve already gotten excited and have been out preparing your beds and maybe even planting some cool-season seeds. I’ve already got peas, lettuces, kale, radicchio, chard, potatoes, onions, favas, beets and carrots planted.  Most of those should be just fine, but if it gets a little too cold for the beets and carrots, I can always replant. There are easy ways you can protect them if you want to extend your season.

The Beginnings of a Hoop Cover

Tonight is one of those nights where it’s going to get cold again – down to the low 20s, if the predictions are correct (which they have not been most of the winter). We also could see a little rain and snow. If you have planted your cold season veggies, they should be fine, but if you are concerned, it would not hurt to get out and cover them for the evening.

The cover should be made of some material that won’t get wet and  heavy, thereby crushing your seedlings. A tarp is a great choice. You could lay it directly over your seeds, but again, if you don’t want to crush them, some support would be helpful. I use small hoops and either binder clips or clothespins to attach the tarp to them, making sure that they are covered at the ends.

You should cover them when there’s no sun to fry them. For instance, this morning it’s sunny and in the 60s. I won’t go out and put the tarp over the seedlings until I’m sure the sun is gone for the day, or at the end of the day when it is not as intense.

If it’s going to be sunny the following day, I will uncover them before I go to work. If it’s going to be cloudy most or all of the day and remain cold, you can get away with leaving the tarp over them for the day.

Finally, this may actually mean that we are going to get some moisture. Snow is actually one of the best things for spring veggie seedlings. It provides a layer of insulation until the sun comes back and as it melts, your veggies get a more even application of moisture. I usually shake off snow that is on the tarp directly onto the beds as I uncover them.

Just a little time and effort gains such great reward. With only about 350 square feet of gardening space, I harvested over 200 pounds of vegetables last year and was harvesting root veggies and potatoes well into December. But that’s another season extending technique that can wait until fall to discuss. The Butternut Hunter is ready to get out in her yard for the day.


Entry filed under: Gardening.

Get Out and Plant! Nurture Non-edible Plants for Great Edibles

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Becca  |  April 3, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Thanks for the helpful garden tips. I’m thrilled about the precipitation! I can’t wait to see what peeks up after tonight’s sleet/snow/whatever adventure.


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