Well, as we all sat around the bonfire last night, growing colder and colder, we pondered on the reality of the night’s low being only 29 degrees. Why, that’s cold enough to freeze the water in bird baths, ponds and the cell walls of soft fruits (like peppers and tomatoes). Do you ever wonder why plants go limp after a hard freeze? It’s the same concept as putting something with a high water content in your freezer. The cell membranes break down due to the expansion of the water. When they thaw, the plant is usually completely dead. I once read in Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder that after a hard or unexpected spring freeze, the entire family rose before dawn to splash the tender plants with buckets of water before the sun could hit them and defrost them. I have tried this method on occasion and it really works!!
Last night, our gorgeous tomato plants finally froze. The pepper plants were still small but they seem to be gone as well. I was surprised to see that the marigolds did not make it through the freeze. I just assumed they were good cold weather flowers. Speaking of cold weather flowers, the nasturtiums succumbed like so much wilted spinach. Och, they were so pretty!
The south side of the house seems to have fared better, with most things mulched heavily, I haven’t noticed anything completely frozen. The datura and tree fern are fine–bird bath unfrozen.
How about your garden? If you’re on the Gulf Coast, how did you fare last night?