Frost - Scarier than a drought?

Maybe! In early April, it is not unusual to experience frost. Since my adult farming ventures, I have been warned by many not to plant my garden until at least after Mother's Day. The forecast for this evening calls for temperatures in the high 20s. A scary thought for farmers when plants are in such a delicate, developing stage. It is rare for a blueberry plant to be flowering in the beginning of April in Minnesota. Our warm weather has made frost damage a possibility and we aren't quite sure what to think about it. 

Our plants are at less of a risk when it comes to frost damage this season. Blueberries bell-shaped flowers provide shelter to their precious reproductive organs (you know, the fruit makers). This helps them withstand cooler temperatures after blooming. A few of our plants have flower buds swelling or bursting.  Currently, they can endure temperatures as low as 20 degrees. The more the developed the flower becomes, the greater the risk of damage even with temperatures in the upper 20s. 


Image taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/Currently, the only protection we can offer our plants is the peak of a hillside and warm thoughts. If this was a different year, a year we would be open for business in the summer, we would fret. Instead of writing this post, we would be in the field, covering our bushes, and hoping for heat. There are also some funky ways to protect blueberries from frost using sprinklers. This year, we plan to pick the flowers off the plants, thwarting the potential loss of energy (plant and human) and fruit. As global climate change, or "global weirding", continues on its unknown trajectory, so will we.