Uncovering Your Garden – Questions & Answers

Finally there is no snow in the forecast! Whew! Now’s the time to start thinking about uncovering your garden, but the excitement of this raises a few questions.  We are here to help your garden grow with the answers!

Uncovering Your GardenWhen is it safe to uncover garden beds?

This can be difficult because there is no specific date on the calendar that tells you when it is safe to uncover garden beds. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Is the ground thawed and free of snow?
  • Is there no snow in the forecast for at least the next 10 days?
  • Has the temperature been above freezing and frost free overnight?

If you answered yes to these questions, it is probably safe to start uncovering.

What is the best way to uncover my beds?

This is personal preference. Many gardeners choose to use their hands and a quality pair of garden gloves. Using your hands to remove the mulch reduces the risk of damaging new, delicate plants. Others prefer to use a garden fork. Using a garden fork may get the job done quicker because they can move more at once. You could also use a combination of both, a garden fork for larger areas and your hands for more delicate areas.

Will my garden suffer if I uncover too late?

It possible because plants will begin growing under your evergreen boughs, winter mulches and protection.  Perennials need the sun, and to be exposed to cooler temperatures, to be fully hardy.  Uncover too late, and they may be easily burned by the sun or injured by changes in temperature.

What damage could be done if I wait too long to uncover the beds?

Leaving mulch, garden debris and leaves on your beds too long can promote disease, especially during a wet spring like we are experiencing this year. It is best to remove before this is able to take place.

What if frost hits overnight?

Don’t panic if frost is on its way. Here are a few ways to protect your plants:

  • Bring tender plants in containers indoors.
  • Water plants before the freeze to add insulating water to the soil.
  • Cover plants overnight with a bucket or flower pot.
  • Drape larger plants with old bed sheets. Remember to keep fabric from touching the foliage and drape all the way to the ground.

Plants should be covered from about 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. Get out there early the morning after and uncover those plants!

What if my plants get frost damage?

Don’t panic. If you have plants damaged by frost, don’t rush to remove the damaged brown areas. Leave them alone until you see new growth. Leaving the dead tissue on the plant can insulate the growing points against further damage.

Now you have the tools that you need to make those difficult decisions about uncovering your garden beds. Go ahead and dress your garden down letting your plants soak up the sun!

How do you decide when to uncover your garden? Do you have another question that we can answer? Ask in the comments below, we’d love to help!

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