Plant or protect? Freeze coming. Panicking. Please Help!?

adayfromnowApril 6, 2007

Thank you so much for looking at this, and hopefully helping me. I'm a newbie and don't know what to do! I tried to find the answer but I can't. Waaahhh! Whine! Wimper, wimper!

We have an unexpected (potential) freeze coming and I have all of these gifts from neighbors gardens that are pretty much bare-bulbed, or if they're in soil, it's not much (egg cartons & small plastic pots). Should I hurry up and plant them before the freeze? If I do, I won't be able to cover the foliage. I could spread leaves or something over the bases. OR...

Should I try to find some way to cover them as they are? They're all on my deck right now, about 3 feet off the ground. Would I be better off putting them ON the ground & covering them? Can the cover touch them, or does it need to be tented somehow?

LOL I'm freaking out! Please, please, please somebody HELP! I need to get busy doing whatever it is I'm gonna do.

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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

I would put them on the ground, and cover them, trying to keep the cover off tented a bit. They should be fine. I would guess they are maybe perennials, or hardy annuals if they are up already.

Not being from Texas, this is just my 'guess'.

How cold is it expected to get? We have had some unseasonably cold night temps (29°F ) the past 2 nights.

Sue

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 2:11PM
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adayfromnow

Thanks, Sue. I really appreciate your help. I didn't know if anyone was going to reply on time, if at all, so I decided to make myself an impromptu, temporary greenhouse. I just left everything on the deck. I thought that would be better because the deck gets quite a bit of sun and is against the house, so it's a little less windy. From the info I could gather in searches, I'm guessing that I need to just water everything really good, and cover it all with a clear plastic dropcloth, making sure that the plastic doesn't actually touch anything. Does that sound right?

Here's a pic of my makeshift greenhouse (before the cover):

I actually have a little bit of everything out there, but the bulbs I was concerned about are cannas, daylilies, daffodils or narcissus, and some grape hyacinth. I also have some already planted irises that I need to deal with. I need to find the most appropriate forum for figuring out if everything else is going to be okay.

It may not even get to freezing, but I didn't want to chance losing everything. THEY are predicting highs near 50 and lows in the low 30s for the next couple of days, with a potential of freezing. On the news, they said there have only been 13 days on record in our area when the temps have been this low in April. Of course it HAD to happen during my first year of gardening. LOL!

Thanks again,
Mari

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 3:46PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

You're welcome.

Ask away right here...most of us know about other things besides bulbs.

Here are my thoughts on what you mentioned so far.
cannas,-these are the only ones I would be concerned about. Would it be possible to set them in somewhere at night time anyway?

daylilies, daffodils or narcissus, and some grape hyacinth-These should all be perfectly fine, as they live outside year round and are used to cold temps.

Anything else of concern? I cannot tell from the pic just what all there is. If any were houseplants, I would get them inside as well if at all possible.

Is the blooming pot snapdragons? They are a hardy annual (here) and should be fine.

Sue

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 4:07PM
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adayfromnow

Yippie! Thanks for volunteering to help with the other "babies"! btw - I do have a bathtub I can use for anything that really needs to come indoors. Can any of these things stay indoors for 2 or 3 days?

Cannas - yes, I can bring them in at nite. They'll go in the tub.

LOL on the daffs, etc. I JUST got done potting them & moving them to the "shelter" area.

Houseplants - I have a couple plants w/ succulent-ish leaves that I brought in already.

What else is out there?

- Oleander seedlings
- Impatiens seedlings (a few - getting impatient with the impatiens)
- Herbs (potted) - rosemary, lavender, chives, cilantro, oregano
- In egg cartons - purple something (oregano or basil), something like a four-o-clock, variegated creeper of some sort, delphiniums
- Mums - I assume they'll be okay, but moved them to shelter anyway.

I just planted some delphiniums. They're only about 4-6" tall. Will putting leaves around them be enough (my only option for mulch), or should I try to find a way to cover them?

What about the irises? "Mulch" or ignore? I don't have a way to cover them without touching them.

Snapdragon - yes, that's what it is. I have several others already planted that will have to fend for themselves. Good thing you think they'll be okay.

Sigh... the marigold seedlings and new lawn are going to have to fend as well. I hope they do okay. They were a LOT of work.

Thank you again!!!! I thought I had months before I had to figure out how to overwinter these things! LOL

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 5:24PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

-- Oleander seedlings-cover well. I just read where a 'mature plant' cannot survive below 14 F temps.
--Impatiens seedlings (a few - getting impatient with the impatiens)...my guess that these are pretty tender and vulnerable-bring in or cover well.
-- Herbs (potted) - rosemary-cover outside
--lavender-cover outside if is a seedling. No covering if more mature
--chives,cover if seedlings-none if more mature
--cilantro-guessing cover well-annual-might be tender
--oregano-cover if seedlings-none if more mature
--In egg cartons - purple something (oregano or basil)-likely a basil-purple ruffles maybe-cover as if a tender annual
--something like a four-o-clock-not sure...probably just cover to be sure
--variegated creeper of some sort-might it be a vinca? If so, it should be fine. No cover necessary. If it is something that is a perennial in your area it should be fine,
--delphiniums-Perennial-cover if 'seedlings' otherwise will be fine
- Mums - I assume they'll be okay, but moved them to shelter anyway....you assumed right. They are very hardy and rugged!

I just planted some delphiniums. They're only about 4-6" tall. Will putting leaves around them be enough (my only option for mulch), or should I try to find a way to cover them?--I think putting leaves around them should (hopefully) do it. If not the foliage might be damaged a bit, but they should come out of it anyway.

What about the irises? "Mulch" or ignore? I don't have a way to cover them without touching them.---Never mulch iris...They will be fine.

Snapdragon - yes, that's what it is. I have several others already planted that will have to fend for themselves. Good thing you think they'll be okay.

Anything else?

Anyone else have differing ideas on this. I really won't be offended if anyone disagrees. I wouldn't want to see any plants lost due to my error in judgement.

Sue

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 6:23PM
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adayfromnow

Sue, you have been very helpful. If anything gets lost, it is definitely not your fault.

Just a couple questions - Can I just bring inside anything you said "cover well" for a couple days (all seedlings, cilantro, and cannas)? - maybe in the tub with a little water, close the curtain, leave the light on & close the heat vent? Or would it be better to leave them in the "greenhouse"?

Will everything else be okay under cover outside (clear plastic, tented), including the more mature things you think would be okay with no protection? Don't want to overheat or smother anything.

While I'm waiting for your reply (please and thank you), I'm gonna go cover the delphs with leaves. It's getting COLD already! BRRRR!

Mari

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 6:49PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Can I just bring inside anything you said "cover well"
I would think that would be fine. I doesn't hurt to be a little overly cautious than what it does to not be cautious enough.

Don't want to overheat or smother anything.
Unless it gets quite warm, I'd think they should be fine...and your tent won't be air tight anyway. If in doubt, just lift the tent a bit by day.

Sue

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 7:06PM
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adayfromnow

Gettin there! Delphs are mulched, bulbs are watered, cannas are in the tub.

Now, with respect to the seedlings and tender annuals, better to be without daylight for a couple days, or potentially get too cold? I guess since you said "overly cautious", the tub is better, right?

Sorry about so many questions. I just don't know enough about all this yet. Baptism by fire! lol

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 7:17PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Yes, I'd rather them be a bit spindly, that turned to mush.
Feel free to ask any further questions. You are making me feel so smart...lol

Baptism by fire!
Now that's a new wrinkle I had to look up.

Sue

Here is a link that might be useful: Wikipedia-Baptism by fire

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 7:24PM
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adayfromnow

There! I wanted to get it all done before the sun went down. So now everybody's in their home for the next couple days, and had a good drink of tepid water. (Took pics of the end result if you want to see - ha ha). And I have decided to reward myself for being a good mom to my plants, albeit overprotective, with a hunk of chocolate and a glass of shiraz! (They go pretty well together, actually!)

Sue, as far as I'm concerned at the moment, you're the smartest person in the world! Thank you SO MUCH for all of your help. Give yourself a BIG HUG from me!

Thanks also for the wilkepedia link. I knew what the phrase meant, but had no idea of its origination. I guess we both learned something today!

LOL - "Feel free to ask any further questions". - Those may be famous last words. I have a zillion of 'em! Not only am I new at gardening, but I'm also very ... shall we say, detailed... not to mention an information junkie!

Mari

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 8:12PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

You're so welcome...and thanks for the kind words.

You do know I was just giving swags to your questions...right?

Now what is a swag you ask. It is a scientific wild a** guess. I really expected someone to come forward with some different input...maybe most everyone has a life away from the computer today, unlike myself.

Hmmmm shiraz?
Had to Wikipedia that one too.

but I'm also very ... shall we say, detailed
Nothing wrong with that...in fact attention to details I see as a very good thing, usually.

I've had my hug, and am now feasting on peanut butter cups, and washing them down with an ice cold Pepsi on the rocks.

Life is very good...if it would just warm up and stay that way until fall.

Sue

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 8:47PM
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adayfromnow

Sue, even if your suggestions were swags (yes, I'm familiar with the term), you obviously have more experience than I do. I don't even know what a "tender annual" is! Your help, swag or no, was immensely helpful to me today.

As for why no one else replied, I hope you're right. I've been feeling blacklisted. A couple days ago I sort of unintentionally defended someone who is, understandably, not very popular. Ever since, few of my questions have been answered. I'm hoping its just coincidence and that everyone has just been too busy to reply!

Either way, thanks to you I feel much better about what I have done to protect everything. I really was at a loss. Even if it was guessing, I needed some support. THANK YOU!

I need to get off here for the nite. I'm going crosseyed (might or might not be the shiraz, tee hee). Give yourself another hug & enjoy your PBC & Pepsi!

Mari

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 10:09PM
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lisa2004(NY Z5/6)

Just chiming in from NY...don't worry at all about those daffodils, grape hyacinth, etc. We had days of 70 degree weather and everything was several inches out of the ground. Then we got 18" of snow! Now that it's melted they are all still there...alive and well! My cannas are all inside the house until it warms up. I've actually been moving them outside during the day and back in at night. It's a lot of work. I put them on garbage bags next to the door. Oh, and I'm drinking Pino...lol!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 12:44AM
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