Florida Freeze 2022 Aftermath

We fared well with this past week’s cold weather. Some things did great, some did poorly and some we’ll just have to wait and see how they do. I’ll give you the rundown.

We actually had Hard Freeze Warnings for 2 nights in a row – January 29th and 30th. We hit 29* (or lower) the first night and were just at 32* the second night.

We grouped and covered and lighted various plants in the garden. My husband was very creative with his groupings.

He used sheets, tarps, buckets, cardboard boxes, milk jugs, buckets of boiling water – anything that would protect and hold in a little heat. It looked pretty when we turned the lights on at night.

Without fail, anything that was covered and had a string of lights under the cover survived. This included the following:

  • Mango tree – in-ground
  • Tomatoes – several varieties – in buckets
  • Strawberries – in pots
  • Longan tree – in pot
  • Cranberry hibiscus – in pot
  • Peppers – several varieties – in buckets
  • Oregano – in buckets
  • Carrots in buckets

The things that were covered with tarp also survived, even without lights. But to be fair – we also had several of these plants in buckets, uncovered and unprotected and they are ALL just fine. Who knew chickpeas were so hardy?!!

Some things under the 5-gallon buckets did well, especially the ones that were near the house. However, those in the farthest bed with no wind protection did not survive. These 2 tomato plants are the only things we know for sure that we lost. The peppers, however, look great.

Two of our tropical trees we wrapped with ground cover cloth around their roots and stems. We didn’t cover their tops. The banana looks completely dead and the chaya looks fine – even has its little blossoms still intact. The leaves look a bit stressed, but will probably recover just fine. Our other bananas are under the canopy of our oak tree. We mulched them heavily with leaves and they look well. We will leave this little banana tree alone and see if he can recover.

Things under cardboard boxes and plastic milk jugs were a mixed bag. The chicory did great, but the cassava didn’t fare well. Only 1 of the 3 has remaining green leaves.

Three other tropical were wrapped well, one even had boiling water added under its cover, but they are looking pretty sad. The Spanish Hog Plum will surprise me if it comes back, but I think the Jamaican Cherry juuuuuust might make it. (It’s behind the blue wagon, but you can see it’s leaves are very withered and drooping.) The Longevity Spinach is going to have to live up to its name to recover. It just looks like a pile of mushy brown leaves.

All things considered, I am super-duper pleased with our survival rate. The strings of lights definitely seem to be the secret, so we’ll probably invest in a few more of things, along with a few more extension cords.

I’m also amazed at the hardiness of many of the things we didn’t protect at all. They all survived. The list is impressive:

  • Garlic – in ground
  • Onions – in ground and in buckets
  • Sweet potatoes – in ground
  • Collards – in ground
  • Brussels sprout – in ground
  • Blueberries – Florida varieties – in pots
  • Carrots – in ground and in buckets
  • Turnips – in ground
  • Mulberry tree – in bucket
  • Fig tree – in pot
  • Loquat tree – in pot

And the surprise survivor is this:

Tiny baby lettuces that we’d planted on January 21st! They had just begun to pop up on the 27th. These hardy little babies weren’t even covered. Just took on the freeze like champs! Can’t wait to see how they do as they get bigger.

You know – God’s creation never ceases to astound me! There is such an overwhelming variety of plants and trees, veggies and fruits, but they all seem to obey His laws. Each has its own hardiness level and it will respond exactly how God intended it to. It’s a constant reminder to me to grow where God planted me, as I’m here for a purpose by His own design.

The Master Gardener may allow the harsh winter winds to blow us about, but He also gives us the Light of His Word and the Covering of His blood to protect us.

May you grow well, wherever He has you planted.

In Him,

Alesha Kay

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