Refreeze

April 22, 2021

It is only fitting after all the craziness of civic unrest and pandemic during 2020 that 2021 should shift to crazy weather.  We had our late March freeze that was predicted which took out many of people’s early plantings.  I had avoided the freeze by not uncovering my succulents and not putting out the vegetables that I attempt to grow annually.  Since the freeze, the weather has not been balmy, but it was comfortable.  That was until this week and the prediction that we would refreeze.  We got back-to-back days in the low 30’sF for our overnight temperature.  I had started planting the vegetables I had purchased but still needed to put out the peppers.  I decided they could wait. 

I mentioned I had taken down the greenhouse plastic on the porch and pulled up the ground cloth to weed and prepare the outside beds for summer.  With the pending refreeze I needed to figure out what to do to protect my plants.  I had neither time nor inclination to put the ground cloth back on the beds.  This was a labor-intensive job that had taken several days last fall.  Instead, I decided to put the hooped cloth stakes back in the ground and then lay the sheets and afghans we used for the extreme cold back on the beds.  The hoops would keep the cloth from direct contact with most of the plants and provide an air buffer from the cold.  The same problem held for the porch green house.  Melissa was not around to help, and I would need to immediately take the panels down after the refreeze.  I decided to just try and turn on the space heater and hope for the best.

After my plants being covered for the last two nights today was the moment of truth.  I had been checking the porch plants and they had all come through without noticeable damage from the refreeze.  When I checked my veggies there was some freeze damage to some of the leaves, but hopefully not enough to kill the plant.  I will need to wait and see over the next few days.  I was especially pleased with my strawberries.  None of the berries had turned black and the leaves all seemed unaffected (two berries are close to picking!).  Then it was time to remove the sheets and afghans from the succulents out front.  It did look like there was some individual leaf damage on a few of the fleshy succulents.  Like before, the hen n chicks all passed and this time the aloes seemed to make it.  Now I am waiting for the shift to spring.

Thoughts:  When I turned on the porch space heater, my parent’s words when I would leave the door open came back to me.  “What are you trying to do, heat up the whole outdoors?”  While my goal was not the “whole” outdoors, it was a small portion of it.  I turned on the heater the first night, but since the second night was only predicted to get down to 35F, I decided to save the electricity.  While I did get some refreeze on several plants, the porch and heater mostly kept them safe.  I came across an article in my browser this morning concerning whether to wear masks outside.  The comment was that the science shows little transmission outdoors as the particles are small and blown away by the wind.  The conclusion however, was why take the risk?  If you, your children, or others have not been fully vaccinated, was it worth the risk to not wear a mask?  Apparently for some, the risk is even acceptable indoors.  Like with my plants, I choose to minimize the risk.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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