Baby, it’s cold outside (bring in those tender plants)

Mother’s Day weekend is proving to be windy and cold. Hope you weren’t fooled by the recent Floridian weather into planting too soon.

Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are among those pre-started plants that must be protected, especially overnight, when temps dip to near zero, as they could tonight and tomorrow. Certain vegetable seeds, including beans, might also be extremely unhappy in this kind of cold, wet weather.

Peas, lettuce and spinach, however, count themselves as cool-weather crops and can usually tough it out.

To protect your tender plants, here’s advice from Veronica Callinan, a Toronto Master Gardener and president of the East York Garden Club:

If your plants are in containers, move them into the garage or close to a house wall. Regardless if they’re in containers or in the ground, cover them with an old bed- or painting-sheet, or big sheet of plastic (like dry cleaner bags) and secure with bricks or stones, as it is expected to be windy.

Won’t be long till we’re back to planting season. In Toronto, the Victoria Day weekend is the traditional safe planting date. Closer to Lake Ontario, you can often move this date forward a little for most plants. For tomatoes, however, if in doubt, don’t plant them out. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound (or more) of tomatoes.


  1. If it's a comfort, it's pretty cold here in CA as well. I mean, not bring your plants in cold. But low 60s, chance of rain. And it's mid May!

  2. Helen girl it is a wild and wacky ride being a Canadian gardener in these parts eh ? LOL
    I have this amazing little greenhouse on the deck that is protecting my tender babies still so that is a relief ! phew ! Wizard coleus is waiting until it is safe to plant in my front entrance container .. I feel sorry for the people working at the garden centers this weekend !

  3. We're resisting the temptation to put the warm-season veggie seedlings outside yet. In spite of April's tease of warm weather, years of gardening in Chicago have taught us some patience when it comes to planting out the tender stuff. I did succumb to temptation and put out some containers of ornamentals, though the tenderest of those are still under the lights in our basement.

  4. That cold, windy weather has blown down from Canada to Maine, too. I decided to put my planned garden work on hold for today, light a fire in the woodstove, and stay inside. Of course, two months ago, we would have thought this was fabulous weather! -Jean

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