May 18. Frost Advisory. Unhappy Gardener.

covered plant

A tomato plant covered with a pop bottle. We take the lid off for daytime and remove the cover entirely when the weather gets hot.

I have written in the past about extreme gardening in the Great Plains. Between wind, drought, and more wind, I have often wondered if I should seek some type of therapy. I have gotten used to a gradually-warming climate (welcomed it even).  One side effect of climate change is the uptick in extreme events. We have been increasingly experiencing early warming in the spring followed by a late frost/freeze that throws all of my plans aside.

Today is the latest date we have been under a frost advisory since, well, anytime I can remember. In response, we found tarps, emptied the linen closet, broke out the collection of discarded curtains retained just for covering garden plants, and even stole the dog’s fuzzy blanket to cover the tender plants in the garden tonight.

My thoughts on this uncharacteristically late freeze? Imagine the following to the tune of the Snow White and the Seven Dwarves song, “Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off to Work I Go”).

potato patch covered

The potato patch covered with a tarp. There was just a little bit of wind, so the rhubarb leaves add some weight to keep it from blowing.

Hi ho, Hi ho
Off to cover the garden I go
We plant plant plant plant plant plant plant plant
In the soil the whole day through
To dig dig dig dig dig dig dig dig
Apparently too soon
It ain’t no trick
To plant too quick
And ya wait wait wait
For the weather’s fate

….

Hi hoooo, Hi hooooo, HI hoooooooo, Hi hooooo, Hi hoooooooooo
Hi ho, Hi ho
Out to cover the garden we go
[whistles] It’s May 18, For goodness sake
Hi ho, Hi ho, Hi ho, Hi ho, Hi ho….

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About jheem

I grew up on a diversified dairy farm in southeast South Dakota where I learned how to throw a hay bale, pull a calf, deal with death, and "name" the cows. I was in 4H and FFA, and was privileged to serve as a state FFA officer. In college, I studied animal science, focusing on beef cows, mostly because I figured they were less work than dairy cows....I ended up with a Masters Degree in ruminant nutrition and went to work for the University of Nebraska, first as a research tech coordinating data collection for a swine unit and beef feedlot on a research farm and then as an extension educator. In my current job, I focus on environmental issues related to animal agriculture (which is a nice way of saying I talk about manure alot). My husband and I live and work on a seedstock cattle operation in northeast Nebraska. You can learn more about our cattle operation by visiting my husband's blog at http://aldersonangus.wordpress.com.
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