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Newbie here - 38 tonight - do I need to cover up some veggies?

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Newbie here - 38 tonight - do I need to cover up some veggies?

Post  iiiigardener on 4/18/2013, 3:57 pm

We are on a roller coaster here - it was in the 90's two days ago and now 38 tonight. I can't cover my tomatoes (strung on 6 ft lines) but should I cover my zucchinis, peppers, and eggplants? I'm putting buckets on my basil plants as I lost the last set a couple of weeks ago to a frost but wasn't sure about which veggies to cover.


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Re: Newbie here - 38 tonight - do I need to cover up some veggies?

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/18/2013, 4:52 pm

This is certainly the year of the crazy weather...all over I think.

If it were my garden I'd throw plastic over all of them. If no plastic then towels, sheets or blankets work but you have to take care with the peppers as I hear they break easily. And I'd pin together a couple of blankets or sheets and get them up over those toms to fall down on each side with rocks or wood holding down the bottoms and lots of clothes pins holding the ends together.

Good luck...let us know how you make out.
CC

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Re: Newbie here - 38 tonight - do I need to cover up some veggies?

Post  iiiigardener on 4/18/2013, 5:02 pm

Thanks, capgoddess:

I bought a Planket that 20 ft x 10 ft - would those work to throw over the tomatoes? The sides won't be long enough but would pinning those work?

I have cages on my pepper and eggplants but probably can still take those off carefully. I was hoping that a frost cloth over the top would be enough but now I wonder if the height would be a problem for those, too.

Unfortunately, I don't have any plastic to put on them.

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Re: Newbie here - 38 tonight - do I need to cover up some veggies?

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/18/2013, 5:14 pm

@iiiigardener wrote:Thanks, capgoddess:

I bought a Planket that 20 ft x 10 ft - would those work to throw over the tomatoes? The sides won't be long enough but would pinning those work?

I have cages on my pepper and eggplants but probably can still take those off carefully. I was hoping that a frost cloth over the top would be enough but now I wonder if the height would be a problem for those, too.

Unfortunately, I don't have any plastic to put on them.

Pinning the side is fine. Without a photo it's had to tell what you are talking about but if any are too short you can pin on more of anything. I'm not familiar with Planket as I buy as little as possible and try to use whatevers in the closet, basement or garage already. Smile

Why not leave the cages on and throw a light sheet right over them? Pin the sides on those, too. I'd do whatever I could to enclose these warm weather veggies as completely as possible. You'll know what to do once you get out there.

CC

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Re: Newbie here - 38 tonight - do I need to cover up some veggies?

Post  jjlonsdale on 4/18/2013, 5:15 pm

I'm right next to you in Dallas and I can't get over the crazy weather either. I just started my garden this year and the last month has been the most cloudy/rainy spring month I can remember in DFW! I actually have MUSHROOMS growing in my SFG, and a friend of mine has MOSS growing on a tree! Of all the problems I was anticipating in Texas gardening, "too cold and wet" sure wasn't one of them!!! Shocked Shocked

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Re: Newbie here - 38 tonight - do I need to cover up some veggies?

Post  iiiigardener on 4/18/2013, 5:32 pm

I'm a technological Luddite (which is really interesting as in my former life, I negotiated software contracts for Sun Microsystems for 15 years and I am married to a software architect.) I have to learn how to take pictures with my nifty new iphone5 that I only use as a phone and nothing else.

jjlonsdale: I lived in So Cal for most of my life and seasons and wet were never an issue. My husband said we had three seasons: fire, flood, and earthquake. Most of the time, if you put something in the ground, it overgrew its spot very quickly but was good if you had land, which I didn't. I moved to Austen 7 years ago and wanted land to garden and ended up with a 1/4 acre completely covered by 15 mature live oaks. Land but no sun equals no veggies. Taking down trees in Austen is almost a capital offense, so I waited and grew herbs and flowers in the shade. I moved to McKinney last summer and immediately ripped up my little backyard and got down two 4 x 4's for winter stuff that grew great. Added four more and got ready for spring - but what spring? It's winter or its summer. It's wimmer or sumter. I've been putting things on and off and losing plants and finding weird bugs and stuff and generally going nuts... and finally having the time of my life getting my hands dirty.

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Re: Newbie here - 38 tonight - do I need to cover up some veggies?

Post  quiltbea on 4/18/2013, 9:20 pm

Anytime my local forecast states the nite will be less than 40*F, I cover my warm-loving plants. The temps can drop significantly lower in any nearby area due to moisture or wind or a downdraft. Its hit 30 before when they told me it would be 35 so I like to take precautions.
Cover them with anything handy. Old blankets, towels, a couple layers of heavy row cover if you have it. Don't take chances.

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hmm. new Texan iiiigardener

Post  hillcountryhick on 4/18/2013, 10:54 pm

Wow, you misspelled Austin twice. ouch. study

But reading forums taught me this, cover your warm weather veggies at night if temps fall below 50. I have left mine uncovered out of laziness with temps down to 45 and yes, I can see the difference in those plants compared to others put out later than haven't been stressed like that.


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Re: hmm. new Texan iiiigardener

Post  iiiigardener on 4/18/2013, 11:13 pm

So, I did. Thanks for letting me know. I guess Austin and I didn't get along too well. I was severely allergic to mountain juniper aka "cedar fever" and so I didn't get out much for half of the year. I guess I was thinking of Jane instead of Weird. I lived in Steiner Ranch so I was pretty well removed from the heart of the city. A tough town to live in after Los Angeles (worst were the rattlesnakes in our back yard.) Thankfully, so far the worst I have to contend with here in McKinney are fire ants and rabbits.

Under 50? Wow, that would be almost every other night. It's been hopping from the sixties/seventies to the thirties/forties. I'll have to go with under 40 and hope for the best. Is there a pop-up cover that fits nicely outside a 4 x 4? My husband and I spent an hour plus covering and pinning and staking. We have the Lifetime beds so I can't just attach a cover to the plastic sides.

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popups for 4 x 4s

Post  hillcountryhick on 4/18/2013, 11:23 pm

I have these popup covers , in both short and tall. they go over the pest pop up covers that I already had. 4 of them...
Very expensive choice though....
What I have done for the rest of my garden is this....

Go to the Lowes or HD and get those green plastic-covered stakes that are about 4 and 1/2 foot tall. They cost 1.98 each I believe....don't remember exactly, but they were very reasonable in price. stick them straight up in each corner and throw and old sheet over the thing. Same effect for a fraction of the price.

I'm trying to learn how to do my gardening Better, Cheaper, more efficiently ,,,

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oops here is the pic

Post  hillcountryhick on 4/18/2013, 11:26 pm

pop up frost covers...expensive option but easy to deal with...

http://www.gardeners.com/Frost-Cover-Pop-Ups/40-221RS,default,pd.html?start=20&cgid=VegetableGardening_SeasonExtending

I have spent way too much money on this website!!!!

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interesting re pop-ups

Post  iiiigardener on 4/18/2013, 11:35 pm

Cool site. I can see why you can spend a fortune there. Between those pics and your other suggestion, I realized that I can actually sew covers that will fit my exact dimensions. I have my tomatoes strung on lines that are six feet tall (and may go higher next year), so the pop up won't work for those. Our local nurseries don't have frost cloth at the moment, so it may be a fall project and by then I should have all twelve of my beds in and have my rotation of veggies set.

I'm thinking something that slips over the top of my tomato trellises and then stake to the ground outside each bed.

We put out all sorts of stuff to keep them warm. I lost all of my tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and basil with the last really cold night - and that was after covering them. It was simply too cold and windy in the 20's a couple of weeks ago. I had to start over so my plants are a bit behind for the time of year.

Thanks for the suggestions.

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Re: 38 tonight and need to cover

Post  GloriaG on 4/19/2013, 12:33 am

Hi iiigardener,

Don't worry - Plankets are fine. They are simply a brand name for one type of green frost blanket. It's what I use all the time. Also, My rule of thumb is that I cover my warm weather veggies with one layer of frost blanket when the temperature approaches 42° and a second plastic layer when it gets close to freezing.

Although it's true that warm weather veggies need warm temperatures, plants that are healthy acclimate to the local conditions. So - a tomato that's been outside in these temperature swings will tolerate a higher-high and lower-low than one that's been more sheltered. A bit like when seedlings are "hardened-off" before being planted outside.

Good luck,
Gloria

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Re: Newbie here - 38 tonight - do I need to cover up some veggies?

Post  johnsonjlj on 4/19/2013, 5:44 am

iiiigardener, we have electrical conduit straps on the sides of our raised beds and 10' pipe creating an arch over our beds. I purchased 12' x 50' frost blanket, cut it in half and sewed it into a 24'x25', which fits perfectly over our 4'x16' beds with hoops. DH also has 2 prized possessions in our backyard- an orange tree and a fruit cocktail tree (navel oranges, red grapefruit, lemons, limes, tangelos, all grafted onto one tree) which he planted last summer and wanted to protect this past winter, especially with the crazy weather we've had down here. We built pvc frames over both trees and I sewed the frost blankets into big cubes which we put shop lights under to keep the trees warm. We held all of the frost blankets down with scalloped concrete border that we've had lying around for years and it worked great!

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Thank you all for so much advice

Post  iiiigardener on 4/19/2013, 10:18 am

Thank you all - I so appreciate the advice.

I am trying to figure out what grows when here in Northern Texas and what needs protection from cold and then later from heat and where to buy the various cold and shade cloth.

Sewing is easy and why I never thought of it before is weird as I am a needlework designer. I sew by hand all the time and have several really good sewing machines.

I guess after all the years of waiting to SFG (close to thirty - I used to watch Mel on PBS and dream), I want everything and I want it now. I'll just have to pace myself a little better.

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Re: Newbie here - 38 tonight - do I need to cover up some veggies?

Post  HillbillyBob on 4/19/2013, 3:19 pm

everything needs protected from our heat and the afternoon sun in Texas, Biggest joke the seed company's ever pulled is printing Full Sun on ALL of their packages, thinking thinking have you noticed we don't have many seed companies from Texas Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked

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Re: Newbie here - 38 tonight - do I need to cover up some veggies?

Post  iiiigardener on 4/19/2013, 3:47 pm

Thanks HillbillyBob! I think that means even the sun is bigger here in Texas. We moved here eight years ago and knew immediately we had found our home in this state.

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Re: Newbie here - 38 tonight - do I need to cover up some veggies?

Post  HillbillyBob on 4/19/2013, 4:50 pm

So you got here as soon as you chould, :we chouldn't ask for anymore welcome glad you\'re here

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Re: Newbie here - 38 tonight - do I need to cover up some veggies?

Post  squaredeal on 4/19/2013, 8:25 pm

I use sheets. Fitted twin sheets work great on 4 x 6 beds and tuck nicely into corners; otherwise use heavy rocks or cans to hold down your sheets. Nice thing about sheets - they won't cook your plants if you don't get them off by 9am!

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Re: Newbie here - 38 tonight - do I need to cover up some veggies?

Post  TexasTracy on 4/19/2013, 8:38 pm

I could just kick myself...I took my hoops off of my beds thinking I'd be fine. Sad I guess I need to go out here and rig my blankets up.

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Re: Newbie here - 38 tonight - do I need to cover up some veggies?

Post  HillbillyBob on 4/20/2013, 10:53 am

Tracy I did the same with my row garden just got all that heavy work completed Rolling Eyes

Dosen't look like I got any frost cheers cheers :scratch:
btw I use 12x12x12 boxes made for planting potatoes I just added a board on top they fit the grid and don't need to be weighted down,I can remove that board and cover with a 12x12 piece of row cover for a early start each year works great until the plants get to big,my tomatos have already bloomed and set fruit sunny this year so has the peppers and the cantaloupe has bloomed a couple of times affraid btw it helps to paint the inside white to get more light to them small seedlings study

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Re: Newbie here - 38 tonight - do I need to cover up some veggies?

Post  catpaws on 4/24/2013, 6:17 pm

Hello fellow gardeners! I just joined today to ask the same question!! I see most of you on this thread reside here in lovely North Texas! What the heck is going on with the weather? ( I can't believe I'm even asking that question, being a native Texan - but being a first time gardener is a full time job this spring!!)

What a year to try veggie gardening for the first time. Like you, I'm tired of having to go out and cover everything every third night! I've been placing buckets over all the tomatoes and peppers every night that its suppose to dip below 48 and laying plastic over the whole bed on those nights its headed below 40! (I know,I know, before long we'll all be railing against nonstop heat!)

As you can see by my avatar pic, I have a 4x8 bed with a "covered wagon" (its covered in bird net). Does anybody have any suggestons on how to make a 4 mil plastic cover for the covered wagon that could actually slip right on/over rather than me having to have 3 pieces of plastic that I'm having to attach and remove with binder clips?? I'm thinking there must be an easier way. Any suggestions are welcome!

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Re: Newbie here - 38 tonight - do I need to cover up some veggies?

Post  HillbillyBob on 4/25/2013, 8:51 am

Welcome catpaws glad you\'re here, the weather is the one thing we can't control last year at this time we were pushing 100* days, never can tell but if someone told me I'd be wearing a jacket, in the Last week of April I'd think they are either new to Texas or been in the sun to long rock on thinking thinking but it's true this year,
try a AG-19 row cover in place of the plastic on your wagon thinking http://www.johnnyseeds.com/c-232-row-cover.aspx you can leave it on during the day if your forecast is for cold nights,it helps with pest as well

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