Three Sheets to the Wind and Frost

We got frost again last night. Honestly, while I know that the last frost date here in lovely Cleveland, OH is May 16, I have never seen a frost this late. I have lived in Cleveland for 9 years and the latest frosts that I can remember are a few late April frosts.

The frost last night meant that all my potted tropical plants had to be brought back inside. There is also a few plants in the yard that I was worried about. The frost won’t kill them but they had already set bud and if the frost gets on them, the buds will be killed.

One of those plants is my hardy kiwi. The frost a week and a half ago did some frost damage to the new leaves but the flower buds had not set. But yesterday, when I saw the frost alert, I went out and checked it and sure enough, there were dozens of tiny flower buds. I have waited 5 years to get a full crop of kiwis from these vines and I really don’t want to have to wait another year just because Cleveland has crazy weather.

So I resorted to something that is only a dim recollection in my head. Bedsheets.

I am not sure where in my life this piece of gardening wisdom came from. I have only vague memory of sheets covering plants. So vague that I am not even sure if it was my mother’s garden or someone else’s. But I was desperate and the sheet theory is sound.

The idea is that the sheets will keep the frost from settling on the plant and keep the plant from getting frost damage.

A quick peek under the sheets this morning shows that there does not appear to be any frost on the plant but I won’t be 100% sure that there is no frost damage until this afternoon.

I really want to be able to harvest more than 5 kiwis this year, so I am crossing every finger and toe that this has worked.

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