Freeze warning has gardeners scrambling

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Wichita, Kan. -- Avid gardeners are thinking about what they can do to save plants or will be taking their chances with the freeze.

KSU County Extension offices are getting calls from gardeners asking what can they do to save flowers and plants?

Sedgwick County Horticulture Extension Agent Rebecca McMahon says, "Depending on what's growing in your garden and what's blooming in your garden, you may or may not cover some things for protection."

McMahon says, "If you've already planted tomatoes and peppers, realistically it's much too cold for them. So if you haven't covered them already, you're going to need to cover them."

She says even covering some plants might not be enough to protect them if it gets too cold for too long. McMahon says it's best to get tomato and pepper plants back indoors, if possible.

But she says some vegetables will endure the cold. "Things like kale, lettuces, spinach, very cold tolerant."

McMahon says the hard freeze will have a big impact on how much fruit trees yield this season. "A couple of degrees can make a real big difference particularly if you've got blooming fruit trees in your yard."

"We're going to be in much better shape compared to some years because the spring has come in fits and starts. It's been warmer then colder."

She says this freeze is why extension agents don't recommend planting too early.

"Years like this year, kind of, shows you why we usually recommend planting in the first part of May."

Master Gardener Bernita Jones is preparing for a garden tour in May and is now worried about what flowers will still be presentable.

"It is a little bit upsetting. But it's also part of nature. I just hope a lot of it is in bloom though for the garden tour. That's probably as much of what I worry about as anything."

On the other hand she's lived here long enough to accept the changes in our weather. "Hey, it's Kansas. Snow at this point is just part of it. It's part of the spring season. You have to live with it in Kansas."

Jones says she's got too big a flower garden to cover everything. Jones says, "The things I would worry about is like if you planted any petunias or any summer flowers, those you have to cover or anything new you've planted, I'd say, you have to cover."

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