I had an interesting call on the radio show last weekend. A guy asked how to get certain landscape plants ready for freezing weather.
Usually, people don't ask that question until we are less than 48 hours away from a potential freeze. So, I complimented him on pre-planning, we discussed the need to prune things to make them easier to cover, and chatted a little about what really needs to be covered. And we threw in some talk about mulch near what I thought was going to be the end of the call.
Then, he asked if one really needs frost covers/row covers, or would bed sheets do. I explained the benefits of bona fide frost blankets and their ability to keep temperatures 6-8 degrees warmer than the outside air. (A typical bed sheet offers 2-4 degrees difference.) That's also when I suggested that he get to a nursery or garden center soon to invest in those covers. I told him, "If you purchase these frost blankets today, instead of waiting until the day before the first freeze, you won't have to worry that every nursery and garden center is sold out."
That's not an indictment of any nursery or garden center. It's just that they only stock so much, and when the first freeze or frost comes, there's a mad rush. They will re-stock, but that won't help you on the first freeze night, will it?
So, stock up on frost blankets/freeze protection row covers now. Let's say the first cold snap delivers (even if only for one hour) temperatures near 28 degrees. Wouldn't you feel better knowing the plants are only experiencing 34-36 degrees vs. 30-32 degrees?
And since we are visiting RCW Nursery this Saturday, I asked one of our local garden supply warehouses to fully stock RCW with ample amounts of freeze protection fabric. While I don't see any freezing weather on the horizon for the next two weeks, don't let that be the reason you don't stock up on this product.
One caveat to this discussion concerns bulk frost cover. Our friends at Southwest Fertilizer, Bissonett at Renwick, are the only Houston source I know of for frost blanket on a big roll. So, they never run out. It's the individual packages that tend to get sold out with the very first freeze.
RCW Nursery Appearance
15809 Tomball Parkway at Beltway 8
Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Besides being well stocked with frost blankets, our friends at RCW Nurseries
have many other reasons for you to visit this Saturday. We'll be giving away lots of Nitro-Phos goodies between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and I have a new stash of Lemmonhead shirts to give out. RCW will have free barbecue, and they have great prices on trees. Plus — even more important — they recently found a hidden box of Gulf Coast Gardening
books by yours truly. They're selling them at a huge discount, and anyone who buys one will also be entitled to a 20 percent discount on anything else they purchase on Saturday.
Remember, too, that RCW Nursery not only specializes in trees (since they have their own tree farm), they are also fruit tree experts and well-known rose authorities. They are landscape professionals and organic specialists to boot. So, you can talk with the experts at RCW about nearly any gardening or landscape question.
The experts from Nitro Phos will be there Saturday as well, to help answer questions about fertilizers, fungicides or herbicides. Soil Mender will also be on hand giving out free goodies.
If you've never been to a GardenLine appearance, you couldn't pick a better weekend than this to earn some free goodies, get a free Lemmonhead shirt, pick up my now out-of-print book at a remarkable discount, enjoy a free lunch, and find the expertise you need to get your landscape through the fall and upcoming winter. Normally, I ask readers to print a copy of the latest e-mail tip sheet and bring it to me at an appearance to earn a shirt or a free bottle or bag of this or that. But since many die-hard Lemmonheads have already done that, I would really like to see a bunch of first-timers at this week's event. So, if you've never brought a tip sheet copy to one our appearances, print this one and bring it along this Saturday — you will be handsomely rewarded.
Randy Lemmon's GardenLine is heard 6-10 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays,
exclusively on NewsRadio 740 KTRH.
Visit the GardenLine Home Page: http://ktrh.com/pages/gardenline2.html
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GardenLine Listeners and E-mail Tip subscribers: Purchase a copy of my book, Gulf Coast Gardening with Randy Lemmon, at a discount from http://www.lulu.com/content/433076!