Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Another Late Bloody Frost.


I should know better by now, but yet again I've planted-out stuff at Haddock's before the risk of frost is over, and yet again I've paid the price!

There's a very good reason, here in rural southern France, why we await the passing of the 'Saints de Glace' before we plant-out our more delicate crops. Mid May is when one can reliably expect frost-free nights, and the presence of the Ice Saints on the 11th (St Estelle), 12th (St Achille), and 13th (St Rolande), heralds this change.

It's mid-April, and after a clear night I woke to a thin veil of frost over the valley below. I vaguely hoped that Haddock's had been unaffected, but a quick glance, whilst feeding the hens, told me that my Pepper (Capsicum) and Aubergine plants, had all been hit. A waste of about €10.

I can cope with the Slugs, pick off the Colorado Beetles, and even tolerate most other airborne plant-eating bugs and diseases; but about frost I can do NOTHING. Maybe I should put-up a poly-tunnel, but somehow it seems unnatural.

Patience is the answer (I tell myself this every year); patience and philosophy. A good friend once told me that the only advantage of age was 'wisdom'; I'm obviously not old enough yet to have taken-in his wise words.

26 comments:

  1. Don't give up completely on them- they may have just had a check in growth.
    Perhaps a conservatory or greenhouse might be preferable to a polytunnel- you can double glaze them with bubble wrap, they let the right light scale through..but they are more expensive.

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    1. The leaves have that nasty transparent look. I think they're done for, but I shall leave them in for the moment.

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  2. You are lucky to be able to plant peppers and aubergines outside - mine are all kept in the greenhouse. So far I have only planted broad beans and peas outside - my shelves are heaving with seedlings but at long last I have learned to be patient and wait for the soil to warm up - plants seem to catch up when planted out a bit later. We have had a lot of frosts just lately - now it is pouring with rain. Not ideal weather for planting or doing anything else for that matter.

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    1. Raining here too today, which would have been fine.... it only takes one night of frost!

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  3. That's a shame about your plants. It's certainly been a cold April. We've only planted out potatoes, onions and spinach so they were unaffected by the frost. Really hope it warms up soon. Brrr.

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  4. It's probably time that, instead of messing around with an hour on the clocks, yonders miserable powers-that-sadly-be corrected the calendar to (re-)match the seasons. Putting the calendar back a couple of months might do it.

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  5. ...and I think the seasons will become even more unreliable in the future. Difficult to be patient when you want your green goodies growing in the earth -- but as you say, there IS a reason to wait! Good luck on the next batch.

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  6. Now I don't feel so bad about not putting anything out yet.

    At least it's dry when it's frosty.

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    1. ONLY rhubarb growing in my plot! nothing else! as yet

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  7. Every year otherwise wise gardeners faced with tantalising pots of seedlings for sale, think that surely the frosts are over...
    I like your Ice Saints. Here I use Guy Fawkes Day as my last frost marker. Have you thought about using de-based pop bottles as night covers if you don't have too many seedlings to tend to?

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  8. May 24 long weekend is the rule of thumb here Cro. The weather here has been so lovely, it's really tempting to go ahead and plant. Every time I have done it, Mother Nature has smacked me down. So I just wear my gardening gloves and rubber boots around the house, and wait!

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    1. There's absolutely no advantage in rushing, is there!

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  9. Well, bummer. It's hard to resist the urge to plant once spring starts flirting. I hope your plants surprise you and bounce back.

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  10. Because of the unusually warm weather, I, also, have been tempted to do some spring planting. However, I have resisted because frost is always possible in April. The official planting season in my area begins Mother's Day weekend or the second week in May. Meanwhile, I am biding my days and doing garden clean-ups and planting seeds indoors.

    Hopefully, all is not lost and some of your plantings will make it through.

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  11. We are supposed to wait for the long weekend in May to plant here but I have experienced frost in June.

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  12. I have done this too, Cro. Last year, in fact. :-( This year, i decided no matter how tempting, i would most staunchly refuse. If i feel i must play in dirt, i can dig or weed but cannot plant.

    At my old location, which was a bit milder, i found if i planted a bit early, i usually made out all right if i paid strict attention to the weather and covered frost-tender items on nights that could be a bit too cool. Old shower curtains worked well for this purpose: i weighted them down with rocks and in the morning, i could take the covers off. I've also used bits of loose straw and covered up plants when the shower curtain ran short, although that was more bother to clean up next day.

    megan

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  13. How interesting, I have never heard of Ice Saints
    before!

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  14. It's so hard to wait, though, isn't it.

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  15. No doubt it is your inner youth that is the problem - I know & recognise it in me :)

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  16. I'm itching to get stuff in the ground but the weather is so diabolical that I know it will be a waste of effort. Meanwhile the greenhouse is heaving. Plastic cloches, perhaps?

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  17. How lovely though, that you have the saints to guide you. It's different in the antipodes, until you start listening to the Old People.

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  18. Sometimes we need to learn it the hard way :-(
    Ice Saints it is here, too, that we await for the sensible plants. But they have different names:1.Mamertus – 11. Mai, 2.Pankratius – 12. Mai, 3.Servatius – 13. Mai, 4.Bonifatius – 14. Mai, 5.Sophie – 15. Mai (also called Cold Sophie)
    In my little veggie patch and some under a little tent are already growing salad, radish, carrots, mangetouts, garlic, ├ęchalottes. Same for the tiny glass house, in which I alsot put the pot of basil and lemon grass until planting out outside. On the window sills in the craftroom and bathroom are still all the tomatoes, peppers, chilli, aubergines, broccoli, romanesco and some flowers I preseeded.

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