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The Queen of Winter -
The Day the deep freeze went to Georgia



  When the temperature drops into the single digits, I cannot decide what to do first.  My chicken pens are wrapped in tarps, the horses are blanketed because they will not go into a barn and there are tarps up for shelter for the horses and cows.

  The llamas, goats and the dogs that protect them have a barn.  The cats have a heated cathouse and my yard dogs have a heated doghouse.  All is well with the animals except for me - I have to get out and get water to all of them as soon as I can - cold weather dehydrates the animals quickly.  I am ready with several layers of clothing and water already in tubs in the greenhouse.  The greenhouse has a large heater and auxiliary heaters for this emergency.  I feel as prepared as possible.

  What about the plants in the yard?  Oh, I expect some damage and some death (then I wonít be devastated when it happens).  Most of my plants are tough, but I do tend to love those borderline tropicals like bananas, gingers, elephant ears and a few others.  I think the purpose of this freeze is to give the nurserymen hope of great spring sales.

  Piling up pine straw on the roots of the banana trees might help, but I am hoping that leaving the stalk in place will be enough.  A few years ago, I had cut the trunk down and placed piles of pine straw over the area and still lost all my bananas and so did everyone else in the area. 

  So what do we do after the freeze moves out.  We do like farmers have done for years - we wait patiently.  We wait until Spring has come and warm ground has returned.  Maybe then a few buds on the roots of our precious questionable plants will spring forth to give us new plants.  Some shrubs may freeze back and come back from the roots.  Peeling and splitting bark in March indicates a severely damaged plant.  Plants in containers in the yard are in danger of the most damage because the roots are actually above ground.

  Most of our plants will survive very well and those that donít will give us new opportunities for excellent choices of replacement plants.  Just donít do anything until you have given the plants plenty of spring time to recover.  I will keep my fingers crossed for your garden and mine. 

  If you are growing your own transplants of vegetables and flowers, now is the time to spend some time in catalogs.  I will let you know when I plant mine.  Of course, I am getting ready to plant my pepper seed in the greenhouse - I keep it at about 45 degrees.

  Peppers can be very slow to grow.



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