We were just getting comfy and confident in the progressing spring weather, when Mother Nature reminds us that She is in control!
According to the NOAA extended forecast for Boulder, CO, there is a Hazardous Weather Outlook for northeast and north central Colorado later this week. Our weather is expected to shift beginning Thursday night into Friday when a cooler and wetter pattern moves in. Night temperatures Thursday are forecast to drop to about 40˚F, and day temperatures will hover in the low 50s. Friday and Saturday could bring even lower temperatures, with highs of only 45 and lows of 33, possibly accompanied by strong winds, rain, snow and/or H_ _L! It appears that this weather pattern could continue through Sunday / Monday. Temperatures in your garden will depend on your elevation and exposure, and could drop below freezing.
What this means for your plant care, especially tender vegetables, and annuals, is that it’s time to prepare to bundle them up later in the week before the cold snap arrives. Here’s how you can best do so.
SOLAR CAPS provide a personal greenhouse for your tomato starts and other veggies and herbs protecting them from the cold temperatures. We are well stocked with frames and replacement bags. We’ve had great success using them on our tomatoes and we love Solar Caps! See Eve’s demonstration of setting up a solar cap!
ROW COVER will give you a few degrees warmer temperature, protection from the wind for seed beds, tender seedlings, and transplants. The fabrics can be “floated” over your rows or beds, using weights of various kinds at the edges to keep them in place, and can also be used to cover garden tunnel frames. It can also be wrapped directly around a tomato cage that is positioned over a plant.
Harlequin’s Gardens sells pre-cut or custom-cut lengths of row cover fabric in two weights: ‘Seed Guard’ (.5oz) and Ensulate (1.5 oz). Properly handled, Seed Guard should last at least one season. Ensulate can easily last several years and gives more protection from low temperatures.
OVERTURNED POTS can also be used to help protect your vulnerable plants from breaking under the snow. For extra insulation, stuff bubble wrap into the bottom of the pot before placing it over your plant. Placing a rock or a brick on top will help secure the pot against heavy winds. We have some used containers that are available for a small donation. Remember to uncover your plants as the temperatures warm back up!
IRRIGATION. Remember to turn your irrigation system off prior to the cold temperatures, and then back on afterwards. Underground systems and pipes should be fine as the ground is still very warm.
If temperatures are below 30˚F, you should protect your backflow to prevent freezing. An easy way to do so is to wrap it in a couple towels, then cover it with a black trash bag. The towel provides insulation, and the trash bag will keep it dry so it can do its job.