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Backyard gardeners cope with rain, cold temperatures

By Laura Halm
Published On: May 24 2013 05:04:10 PM CDT
Updated On: May 23 2013 11:00:00 PM CDT

The mix of rain and cold temperatures in the area the last few days is throwing backyard gardeners for a loop. We caught up with experts and learned this cold snap means a later start to planting summer crops.

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. -

For those of us with a green thumb, chances are you're trying to cope with the rain and cold to keep your backyard gardens growing.

We caught up with experts and learned this cold snap means a later start to planting summer crops.

A garden variety of vegetables is stocking the shelves of Bob Sanders' basement. "I'm from the old school. I like to can things," he said.

Sanders likes to can things like tomatoes, peppers, beans, beets, and squash that he grows in his garden. But he says things could be better right now. "We've had a lot of water to wash in on the garden and I've got some ruts in there where it's gone through. I may have to move it," added Sanders.

When it comes to rain, we're more than eight inches above normal for the year. With temperatures dropping to the 30s in the coming days, frost is a possibility as well.

We learned this wild weather can take a toll on your backyard garden. "Roots have to breathe too, and if that soil is saturated with water you're going to have root disease become a problem," said Sullivan County Extension Agent Chris Ramsey.

The solution is sometimes out of our control. But we learned besides covering your plants from the cold, a raised garden can improve drainage.

Over at Northeast State, students run a garden and say they're waiting to plant their warm crops until things heat up. "We had some tomatoes and peppers that we put out already, so we'll cover those before we leave today just to make sure nothing happens to them tonight," said gardener Reece Barringer.

Experts tell us cold crops like potatoes or broccoli should be able to withstand a dip in temperatures. But for those warm crops, we've learned straw is a good option to protect them from frostbite.