Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Freeze Casualties

After the freeze here in Florida...

All the papayas, looking very dead...

All the tamarinds, days ago these were glowing green...

All the gynuras melted down to a brownish-green goo, except

...this one little baby one that had been covered by an old coir doormat.
The guavas that were in fruit...all but one...are toast. See the difference between the one that got covered and the ones that didn't...


This one had fruit on it... (look at pic closely to see)

All the coffees, even though they were on the lanai...you can SEE their frostbite...

And my beloved coco plums, a plant I haven't written about yet here, but had great plans for...they're brown and crunchy now, their formerly robust green leaves are now crispy like potato chips. Note the difference between the freeze-damaged cocoplum below and the gardenia next to it, which was covered. Yes, the cocoplums were covered, too :( Before, they were loaded with blooms and beautiful developing fruits...


Other victims of the freeze:
The baby lychees
Malangas
The starfruit/carambola...wahhhhh :( :(
The coconut palm
The porterweed bush
All the mangoes
The brush cherry
The avocado :(
There are more, I'm sure, and some of these may bounce back...we're not sure which, yet. I had no idea I was so attached to our little green babies.
The hardy survivors??
Amazingly, all the citrus...still even have their blooms. We DID cover them, but then we covered many of the above. (They smell fabulous, too...a very strange accompaniment as I surveyed the damage to the other plants)
The rosemary is thriving like nobody's business, as if it thrives on a good freeze.
The yerba buena is reigning supreme in its area of Bucketville.
The gardenias are fine.
The moringa is fine.
The pineapple plants looked a little off-color, but I believe they're fine.
And all the planted greens and lettuces are doing just fine! :)
Lest the blog be where only successes are documented, welcome to the setbacks.
Amateurish attempts notwithstanding, we've had many successes with our small-scale growing experiments. We're trying to learn what works for our growing zone, what plants are the hardiest sorts for us, and which ones we prefer for any number of other reasons. Ultimately, it's the plants that can take the most abuse that are most likely to survive our learning curve.
Freezing temps are the enemies of Florida crops...this we have learned.

There have been losses all along. Some seeds or starts never make it, even though they're suited for our zone. Maybe we planted them at the wrong time, or in the wrong sort of soil or light situation. Maybe we over/underwatered them. Maybe they just don't like being in pots as well as they would like being right in the ground.

Herbs have been this way. Some I was sure would grow well here just never took off. Other plants, such as the Cape Gooseberry and our Raspberry plants struggled along for a little bit, then bit the dust, as did one of the grapes. The Za'atar herb took one look at Florida and gave up the ghost. Others decided the summer heat was too much for them and promptly kicked the bucket.

Of the remaining hardy crowd, it appears a couple nights of freezing temps can do them in. Ugh...it's like a punch in the stomach. We've talked about one day having a big enough greenhouse-ish situation to protect plants that are not yet in-ground (when we have our land, y'know...). When there is a freeze advisory, we put as many plants as possible on our back lanai and covered them with sheets and towels. Some had to remain in the yard, and some were covered others were not, due to lack of extra material to use as protection.

We're not sure which of these are casualties, and which will make a rebound, but all of these have been seriously damaged in the freeze from last week.
This is our first test of the lower temps. The plants that bounce back, or make a comeback at all, will stay. Hopefully there will be many! In a more permanent situation, we'll make a protected area for all the potted plants, and for the plants in beds, we'll have frost protective cloth where possible. Larger trees can often sustain different extremes than the babies, but any trees we plant in the ground will have to survive...I don't think we'll have any way to protect them from freezes except by situating them among other trees per permaculture recommendations.
I really hope the guavas and the cocoplums make a comeback. It's my hope we can build a small cottage industry around some of the plants that do well, and I do like the taste of guava. The cocoplums are unique to the subtropics, as well, and I hope very, very much to have some prolific bushes to harvest for experiments in tropical fruit jelly-making. The cocoplum pits can be roasted and eaten like almonds, too, which is also something I'd love to see if we could utilize.
Let's see what survives....
Ugh. The poor dead things... wahhhhh :(

13 comments:

fullfreezer said...

Oh, how sad they all look. I hope some bounce back for you. I'm always amazed at how resilient some plants can be. Others- not so much...
Judy

farm mom said...

Oh, so sorry robbyn. I HATE frost casualties, the loss of the plants you've been working so hard on is soooo tough. But, the good news is they may not all be as dead as they look. They may resprout, especially if you remove the dead vegetation. xoxox

Kathie said...

Yikes, so sorry for all the frost bitten losses. It's so heartbreaking...

Captain's Wife - Jennifer said...

Oh my, I'm sorry the frost got them. Darn frost...

Mrs Flam said...

I am so sorry for your losses , Sometimes gardening is such a battle

madcobug said...

I know all those dead looking make you sick to see. That is so sad to see them gone. Helen

Christina said...

Let's hope they recover and reward your love and caring. A lot of times the top will die off but the roots survive.... it just may be next year before you see fruits.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh no! Poor little things. I hope some do recover. Or else what expensive experiments they'll all be! Yikes!
It must break your heart. I'm so sorry.
It's odd, too. Most people don't realize that Florida faces freezing temps sometimes. But they truly do, as you've sadly discovered :(

~Lisa

Willa said...

Robbyn- how sad. We lost our tomatoes 3 times one year, to unexpected frosts. But here in PA, how unexpected can a frost really be?
On the other hand, reading your list pf plants, casualties and survivors, was like taking a tropical vacation for me. How exotic it sounds, to have guava and lychee and mango and tamarind- so much cooler than broccoli and beans and apples...

Woody said...

I hate to see the losses. My mom and dad called from fort meyers to tell me they were covering plants. They usually call us when WE are having bad weather to rub our nose in it. I didn't hear that tone in their voices in this call..

This too shall pass

P~ said...

AAwwww Robbyn that sucks...
I'm sorry for you. It's terrible to have things go wrong like that when you're trying to get ahead. I'm with Farm Mom though, don't give up on them entirely, plants can be incredibly resilient.
Best of luck to you.
P~

Maria said...

Uhhhhgggg!! I'm so sorry! That's devastating! I hope some of them make it through!

warren said...

wahhhhh is right...it's gonna take some green to get things back to green at your place. Sorry for the bummer!