It happened again! Torrential rainfall, 50 mph winds, thunder, and lightening! We had thunder and lightning for at least 4 hours straight. Our backyard flooded from the rapid rainfall. My rain gauge showed 5 inches of rain from last night’s storm. Our newscaster said we received as much as 6 inches of rain! And, I was worried about my centipede grass getting enough water!
At one point last night, I could see the water flooding over my patio. It was raining so hard that the force of the water literally knocked over the brick border around my patio and pushed the bark chips out into the yard. Soil flooded from my gardens into the grass.
Today, the cold front has pressed eastward and our temperatures have plummeted. Yesterday, we were a balmy 78 degrees. Today, we find ourselves at a windy 53 degrees. In areas north of us there is a freeze watch and warning in effect. It is April right? Once again Mother Nature shows us who is in charge.
As our weather all over the world continues to spiral out of control, we as gardeners must try to have some semblance of order. It becomes necessary to protect our plants from the harshness of the current conditions, whatever they may be. In the case of my garden, I do not face a threat of frost tonight and have moved my tomatoes closer in towards the covered patio to protect them from the harshness of the cold. Most of the seeds that my grandchildren planted can be replaced so I will not worry about those.
The newest addition to my garden is a lovely Persian lime tree that I planted in a large pot that resides in the sun on the patio. This too, I moved so that the petite tree is protected from the cold. The prediction is 38 degrees tonight for my area so I do not have many concerns for freezing.
Persian Limes or Tahiti Limes are small trees only growing to about 20 feet in height. This tree will have a dense canopy with dark green leaves that will hang to the ground loaded with those tiny green gems. My intention is to keep it in a pot for as long as I can. Then I will transplant it in our backyard. To learn about Persian Limes go to the University of Florida website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ch093 .
“Gardening Basics,” from HGTV at http://www.hgtv.com/landscaping/preparing-for-a-frost/index.html gives some excellent suggestions for preparing your gardens for a possible frost event, whether it is spring or fall.
Here in Pensacola, Florida we even have to prepare our plants for harsh summer sun, humidity, and high temperatures. “Eartheasy,” a gardening blog found at http://eartheasy.com/blog/2012/07/how-to-protect-your-garden-during-a-heat-wave/ explains what to do for your plants during a heat wave. One of the most obvious protections is to lay a mulch layer around your plants. I have not done this before but I am considering placing a layer of pine straw in the garden near the shed to help with the moisture loss from the hot sun.
The azaleas in my neighborhood appear to grow wild. The temporary cold weather does not appear to affect them. These bushes have become homes for many birds and wildlife I see in the area. Their florescent colors let everyone know that spring has officially arrived in the area.
The swamps near my home are awakening too. I can see leaves sprouting on the trees submerged in the murky water. Green algae have formed a thick scum on the swamp. The deep bass sounds of frogs are evident in the mornings.
After this cold front moves through I will work in the garden again. There are weeds to pick, and I want to experiment with a do-it-yourself compost container. Then, there is the issue of the rainwater draining off of the shed roof onto the garden below and eroding away all the soil. Time for a gutter! You always have plenty to do in a garden!