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Frosty Gardens 

Joy Hollowell

Gardeners are grumbling.Mother nature is throwing us a curve ball, with freezing temperatures expected in many areas of Maine Monday night.It could do a number on those hanging plants and annuals you just put in the ground.Joy Hollowell talks with a gardening guru to find out how to keep flowers frost-free.+++++++++++++++”The only thing that gardeners have the last of and we should practice the most, and that’s patience. We’re all antsy to plant for spring.”Bob Bangs of Windswept Gardens in Bangor says instead, gardeners need to follow the moon.”the farmers have always gone by that, you don’t plant until the full moon, and it’s always been Memorial Day weekend,” says Bob Bangs.That’s because Mother Nature usually has one more cold spell up her sleeve. And this season, it’s coming in the form of a frost advisory.”certain annuals will handle light frost better than others. The real susceptible ones are impatients, in your garden it’s tomato plants, peppers, and plants like that,” says Bob Bangs.Perrenials could also perish, especially those that were just planted.”if perrenials came from a heated green house and they haven’t had a chance to acclimate outdoors, they’re going to be more susceptible to a frost or freeze. Some of those would be hostas or astilbes, day lilies,” says Bangs.For those who did rush the season, Bob says there are some things you can do to protect your plants. Anything that’s portable should spend the night indoors.”things that are planted in the ground are a little bit more problematic. If you have old sheets or blankets, you can gently drape them over the top of the plant,” says Bangs.Bob advises folks to avoid plastic.”plastic, while it affords a certain degree of protection, if the plant foilage touches it, where it touches, there’s a good chance there’s going to be tissue damage,” says Bangs.And, believe it or not, Bob says watering your plants at peak frost time could actually protect them. He recommends hooking up a timer to your hose.”living in Maine, we love spring. And we always try to push the season. But mother nature always checks us in with reality,” says Bangs.==============Bob says most greenhouses in Maine and north of here start turning down the heat, to acclimate plants to the outdoor temperatures.But plants grown in states south of here have not yet had time to adjust, so they’ll be more susceptible to frost damage.