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by Sabine van Osenbrüggen
How has your garden developed so far? Have all your seeds sprouted, have the fruit trees blossomed well and are your annual flowers thriving well on the beds?
The Ice Saints
Every year we read that plants, such as tomatoes, squash, zucchini and eggplant, or even some balcony flowers, such as daisies, petunias, geraniums and begonias should not be outdoors until after the Ice Saints, because usually there is a cold snap around mid-May. So once again there are night frosts that harm the new plantings. As well, it hit me two years ago, I was so impatient to plant my new raised bed, among other things with bush tomatoes, which then unfortunately froze to death in a May night.
But why, despite climate change, are the Frost Saints still a constant? Due to the temperature difference between the European mainland, which is already quite well warmed up in May, and the colder sea, low-pressure areas develop. These shift the warm air to the north, bringing the ice-cold air from the polar regions to us. This cold air then brings us the dreaded night frost.
Incidentally, the Ice Saints are staggered, arriving first in the north and then in the south of Germany. In recent years, the classic Ice Saints have actually been rather too warm. According to the German Weather Service, their occurrence will tend to decrease. This year, the Ice Saints are scheduled to occur from May 11 to 15.
Therefore, do not forget to note in the Perma Calendar whether the Ice Saints will reach us this year.
What can you do to protect your plants?
Plants in tubs and pots I pull close to the house and cover themselves with a thin fleece. You can also cover the already sown vegetables on the bed or raised bed with fleece. Very delicate specimens you should move into the hall or garden shed for the announced frost nights. However, we are powerless in the case of fruit trees. On large plantations, farmers use frost sprinkling, so that the blossoms are covered by a layer of ice, and there, as paradoxical as it sounds, are warmed. But in private gardens this is not practical, because the trees would have to be sprinkled all night.
A second cold period can occur in June, the so-called sheep cold (in German: "Schafskälte"). But this is not so dangerous for your plants, because the flowering period is already over and the plants are already bigger and robust. But still keep your ears and eyes open, so you can still intervene where necessary. For even more tips on gardening and climate, check out the perma calendar.
Good luck with growing and protecting your plants.