Last week I hardened my seedlings and this week I finally transplanted my vegetable plants and its companions. I did pretty much everything recommended – I hardened the young ones for about 5 days, by hardening I mean I took out the plants for an hour the first day, then got it back inside for the rest of the day. This I then slowly increased to 4 hours, then to a full day. By doing this the plant doesn’t suffer a temperature shock when transplanted into the bed. I then checked the weather for ten days. I saw we had some good rain and overcast clouds, and three days of sun. What I completely missed – was the wind factor. I don’t know why this didn’t come to my mind before, but I should have seen the pattern of A FREAKING STORM brewing. I read the sunshine, the low temps the high temps but I skimmed right past other information. Boy! Talk about missing the obvious.
Right after I transplanted the seedlings, I had to scamper to get some wind barriers for the storm. I missed the extra dark clouds in the sky because this is Portland, its always cloudly and its not so out of the ordinary to have some dark clouds here and there. Sheesh!
Frantically, I asked my husband if he had any ideas. He said we could use his camping gear and put up tarp. That could work well, till we found out we didn’t have any stakes to hold up the tarp. Then thought hmm, maybe somehow we could hold it down using bricks and stones. But of course, the wind that particular day was 19-mph and completely threw it up in the air. Thankfully didn’t hurt anyone or break anything.
Then finally I started using old milk jugs and juice jugs; a great way to recycle them too. This is recommended by several garden Experts (not my idea). Unlike the tarp, this didn’t allow any wind drift beneath so didn’t fly out. We basically cut out the bottoms of the milk jugs and the juice bottles and stuck it over the small seedlings and under the soil an inch or so below. The clear plastic allows sunlight in, traps heat during day and helps heats the plant through the night PLUS acts as a great wind barrier. I also used our recycle container. Thick plastic. That also worked well too, the main thing to note, it had holes in the bottom of the container and I removed it immediately after the winds died down. I’m not sure, but I’m guessing the thick red plastic would suffocate the plant.
So lesson learnt, read the FULL weather forecast for the next ten days and see if anything is amiss –low temps, high temps, rain AND wind.