Saturday, April 14, 2012

Strawberries and a hard freeze, not a good mix

I anticipated frost and freeze attacks on my strawberry patch. I planned for it by purchasing the following frost blanket material:

It states that it provides 10 degrees of frost protection, while still allowing 40% of sunlight through. Good to go I thought, ready to protect my strawberries during frost and freeze times this spring.

So this last week has been fraught with hard freezes. We must have had 3-4 nights that temps got well below freezing. These were hard freezes, nut just wimpy little light frosts.

I felt prepared, after all I had my frost blanket material. So I covered the strawberry patch the evening before the first frost, oh yea, by the way, the wind gusts that night just for added fun were over 30mph. That made my adventure of laying down and stacking 5 pieces of  6' X 45.5' frost blanket material by myself even more enjoyable. Here is the end result:

Two hours to get this down

And I thought I was totally prepared

So four days later, after all forecasts of freeze are over, I remove the frost blankets expecting to see my precious flowers looking sweet.

Removing the blankets:

Took me an hour and a half to remove the blankets, again the wind wasn't helping

NOTE blankets are laid directly on top of plants. I didn't know any better.

And this is what I found...

Yellow flowers with brown or black centers is a dead flower. Killed by frost or freeze. So here we have two dead one still alive

Three dead

Bad picture but...three dead, one still alive


 Bottom line is although it is hard to estimate, I believe that I lost 50% of all flowers that were open at the time. So I research turns out, that frost blankets if actually touching the flowers will allow the frost or freeze to go right through killing the flower. Oh, my bad, possibly that might have been a good thing to advertize with the product. It might have been good had the said anything about "You need to keep the frost blanket up off the plants for full protection". That would have gotten my attention. But no, they did not offer that kind of it information on the web site I bought the frost blanket from.

Ok, lesson learned. I need some kind of metel hoops to hold up the blanket over the strawberry row. Just one more thing I need, wonder how much that will cost.

But looking on the bright side, the frost blankets laid directly on top of the strawberry plants still saved 50% of flowers that were open at the time. I would have assuredly lost every flower in those freezes had I done nothing.

The adventure goes on.....

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