Saturday, June 12, 2021

Who Has the Greater Need for CPR----

the plant or the gardener?  When the nighttime temperatures register between 32 degrees F and 43 degrees F six days into June, you can't help but think Mother Nature needs help.

The personal hands-on experience of failure and success is our most impactful teacher, although sometimes fraught with heartaches.

From the time of our arrival to Central Oregon in 1978 until early 2000, Dick and I maintained the tradition we grew up with--plant your garden on Memorial Day weekend or you might as well forget having a garden.  We rolled out black plastic in April to warm the soil which we rolled up at planting time.  Lots of unnecessary work but by the traditions we knew, no respectable gardener would plant through the plastic.

By 2000 we were running out of the steam for all the prep work and started reassessing our procedures.  We weren't ready to give up the massive vegetable garden.  We learned to start working smarter.

Instead of trying to keep up with warming the soil, etc. we bought a soil thermometer and relied on the information available at the OSU Extension and eventually the OSU "Growing Vegetables in Central Oregon" publication to do in-ground seed sowing and seedling transplanting.

This meant possibly not planting-in-ground until the second or maybe even the third week of June.  (I can hear some of you gasping).  By then the soil is a more consistent 60 degrees F.  We quickly learned that planting later gave us better, stronger results with much less work.

Fast forward to the spring of 2021 and the extremely hot days in early June that slid into the very chilly days and cold nights we have recently experienced.  I was again grateful that very few new plants were in the ground.

A frost in Central Oregon at anytime during the summer isn't uncommon.  Think ahead and plan what you can grab if the 6:00 news predicts a frost.  The best covering is the row cover available at the Extension office,  an old sheet is also acceptable, but definitely not plastic.  Plastic actually draws in the cold.

Here is what you might experience when frost is predicted.

29 to 32 degrees F:  Light freeze with damage limited to tender plants.

25 to 28 degrees F:  Moderate freeze.  Many plants experience some damage but will regain growth.

24 degrees F and colder.  Severe freeze.  Most plants experience heavy damage.

Hope you raise your hands and do a happy dance in gratitude for recent rains with hopes they will continue for a few more days.

Check out Gardening: Get Good at It "Bug Trivia" segment on Tues. June 15 on KPOV  88.9 FM between 9-9:30 am.

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