FLAT ROCK — With the frigid temperatures this week across central Indiana, you may be worried about your flowers and plants out in the cold. WRTV talked with an expert to give you some simple tips for protecting your plants this spring.
Kelly Cole is the owner of Mossy Acres Flower Farm in Flat Rock, Indiana. Her farm is located right near the Bartholomew County line.
The retired teacher turned plant enthusiast tells us they opened the flower farm in the fall before the pandemic.
They opened to the public during the week of the shutdown last spring so they had to cancel the "U-pick" portion of the farm and just sell arrangements. However, on spring and summer weekends, they are open to the public for a U-pick flower farm experience, plus there is livestock to visit and floral bouquets available for purchase.
Their property spans about 10 acres and the flower farm covers about half an acre.
This week, Kelly is taking steps to keep her blooms alive through the bitter cold overnight. However, she says these temperatures and the timing of them are not nearly as devastating to her flower farm as the late frost we saw in May 2020.
"Usually the last frost day for Zone 6, where we are in central Indiana, is the end of April. So we are still within that last frost date window, so it's not totally uncommon. It just kind of stinks," says Kelly. "Last May, we had a horrible hard frost."
Kelly says that situation is much worse for plants than a freeze during this time of year.
"Since we were past that last frost window many many had started purchasing their tomato plants, their petunias, their zinnias, their landscaping plants. So those are things that are much more tender and much more susceptible to frost damage," says Kelly. "So hopefully there are less of those types of things in your garden right now and the stuff that is coming up in your garden is naturally a little bit more hardy."
To protect your plants this week, Kelly has these tips for the average gardener:
- If you cover your plants, don't let your covering touch the foliage! This can cause more damage.
- She recommends using a bucket or box or even frost cloth with hoops but make sure whatever you use does not touch the plant. For bigger plants, she recommends using stakes like bamboo stakes and draping the cloth over those, and securing to the stakes.
- Remove the covering in the morning when you wake up.
- Water your plants well to keep them hydrated the afternoon before the freeze and frost. This will help them survive as well.
- Plants to cover include annuals, certain summer vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, melons and squash. Other vegetables like kale and radishes tend to be more tolerant of the cold.
- You could cover peonies, but since it is still early in the season it is not as critical to cover them. In May when the plants were days away from opening the frost was more devastating.
Mossy Acres Flower Farm is set to be open one more weekend this spring, and then they will reopen in late June. For updates, follow their Facebook page and Instagram and you can also visit their website www.mossyacresflowerfarm.com.