By Jannie Vaught
One day we are running the cooler and in a few days a cold front is dipping into our region and we are back with the heater on. What does this mean for the new plants in the garden? Plants at 39 degrees can feel the chill and will need a cover to be safe. Tomatoes which are now beginning to flower and set fruit, also peppers, and even those potatoes. Water before the frost to prevent desiccation or drying out. Cover with frost cloth, agrabond is a very good reusable fabric and easily draped and secured in a hurry. I roll it up and reuse it, it is preferably used with hoops to make an air gap over the plants. Cotton sheets, burlap, or even large inverted buckets or planters will also work.
I have found that having large tubs for storage, one for cold frost weather and one for hot weather makes these sudden changes faster. Sunshade and hoops for extreme heat and sun scald. A garden shed or a weather-tight container will help with storage. On on to beans and peas. Green beans, a standard for the garden, either pole or bush variety. They germinate quickly and flower and begin producing from 45 to 60 days producing a dense crop.
There are many varieties now from foot long to the standard green, yellow wax, and purple. There is nothing to compare to the flavor of a garden-grown green bean. Know what your planting bush needs no support and pole bean will need a trellis for climbing support. Some common names are Kentucky Wonder and Blue Lake which come in both types. Now on to peas. Crowder, Blackeye, and purple hull, also southern cream peas are wonderful and easy to grow. Trellis them and keep them watered and fed on a regular schedule.
I grow purple hull and crowded peas, the variety I plant for Purple is a bush variety but they will tendril and want to climb. Crowder peas need a good tall stout trellis or fence. I plant the bush variety alongside the corn to provide soil coverage and they are a nitrogen-fixing plant and corn tends to be a hungry plant so they help each other. The corn providing some shade in the heat and they both need good deep watering on a regular schedule. When I cover crop in the fall peas are something I add to the mix. Surprisingly they are cold tolerant and will even take some shade, but they do love their regular sunshine. Even though the weather is keeping us busy my spring garden is thriving with promises of good abundant food in the coming months.
Growing green and prepping for another little cold bump Jannie