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Cold weather!

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Cold weather!

Post  shawnteh on 5/24/2013, 6:21 pm

Its been in the 50's all day today in DC Metro Maryland, and it's supposed to go into the 40's tonight! I have fairly new bed planted (about a week old). Tonight I plan to cover my babies with cut up trash bags just to try to keep out any frost. Is that ok, or should I be doing something else?

Shawn Very Happy
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Re: Cold weather!

Post  jmsieglaff on 5/24/2013, 6:38 pm

If it stays in the 40s you won't have frost--even upper 30s, so don't worry.

I had 34 last night and all warm season crops were covered. We had frost in the backyard and frost on the blankets, but the tomatoes, peppers, cukes, and squash were all fine! Very Happy
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Re: Cold weather!

Post  shawnteh on 5/24/2013, 6:41 pm

@jmsieglaff wrote:If it stays in the 40s you won't have frost--even upper 30s, so don't worry.

I had 34 last night and all warm season crops were covered. We had frost in the backyard and frost on the blankets, but the tomatoes, peppers, cukes, and squash were all fine! Very Happy


Whew! Thanks for letting me know! I would hate to have them harmed in any way because I didn't do something.

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Re: Cold weather!

Post  moswell on 5/24/2013, 9:27 pm

I'm ready to do a big "GRRRR" to this weather! I mean, I wait and wait to put in tomatoes, it heats up for a week, and then down into the 40s? It's just nuts out there!
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Re: Cold weather!

Post  floyd1440 on 5/24/2013, 9:37 pm

I got a frost warning here as well. I covered everything up but am concerned they will not make it. They now say it will be 34 tonight and the last time they said it would only get to 33, it hit 26.

Guess will know tomorrow but dug up the few tomato plants up and put them inside to be safe............
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Re: Cold weather!

Post  shawnteh on 5/24/2013, 9:44 pm

@floyd1440 wrote:I got a frost warning here as well. I covered everything up but am concerned they will not make it. They now say it will be 34 tonight and the last time they said it would only get to 33, it hit 26.

Guess will know tomorrow but dug up the few tomato plants up and put them inside to be safe............


Floyd1440, can I ask what you used to cover your beds with?

Thanks,
Shawn
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Re: Cold weather!

Post  camprn on 5/24/2013, 10:43 pm

@shawnteh wrote:Its been in the 50's all day today in DC Metro Maryland, and it's supposed to go into the 40's tonight! I have fairly new bed planted (about a week old). Tonight I plan to cover my babies with cut up trash bags just to try to keep out any frost. Is that ok, or should I be doing something else?

Shawn Very Happy
Frost is at 32*F.

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Re: Cold weather!

Post  jmsieglaff on 5/24/2013, 10:44 pm

I use old sheets, blankets, towels, tarps--for marginal temps that produce frost yet don't go sub-freezing (not sub-freezing most accurately at thermometer height) they do their job in keeping the frost off the plant tissue. For frost sensitive plants the frost on the plant tissue will kill those cells--enough of the plant gets hit and it will die. Cold hardy plants have natural protection for frosts--their tissues do not die when coated with frost.


Last edited by jmsieglaff on 5/24/2013, 10:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Cold weather!

Post  jmsieglaff on 5/24/2013, 10:51 pm

Frost is at 32*F.

Very true--but I think frost (ice crystals) forming when weather observations or your backyard thermometer have temps a few degrees above freezing can confuse people. Official temperature observations are taken between approx. 4 ft and 6.5 feet above ground level--but temperatures near the surface on very calm nights will be colder and can support frost. I read this article recently and thought it explained it decently. http://www.cnycentral.com/weather/story.aspx?id=202626#.UaAl9evfWe0
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Re: Cold weather!

Post  camprn on 5/24/2013, 10:58 pm

Frost is also dependent upon the dew point

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Re: Cold weather!

Post  jmsieglaff on 5/24/2013, 11:07 pm

Right, if the air is too dry, ice crystals will not form. I was making the assumption that the air was sufficiently moist for ice crystals to form, as is often the case with good radiational cooling--calm and clear, like we had last night and had a moderate frost in our backyard. I was just glad I took the 20 minutes to cover everything. I had one tomato plant with 1 leaf that must have stuck out a bit and had a bit of damage--but it is doing fine.
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Re: Cold weather!

Post  floyd1440 on 5/24/2013, 11:49 pm

@shawnteh wrote:
@floyd1440 wrote:I got a frost warning here as well. I covered everything up but am concerned they will not make it. They now say it will be 34 tonight and the last time they said it would only get to 33, it hit 26.

Guess will know tomorrow but dug up the few tomato plants up and put them inside to be safe............


Floyd1440, can I ask what you used to cover your beds with?

Thanks,
Shawn

I used buckets and a 4x8 piece of heavy material to keep the stuff in place then stapled it to the sides of my box and wooden grid.

Hope it works
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Re: Cold weather!

Post  quiltbea on 5/24/2013, 11:59 pm

Its better to be safe than sorry. Anytime 'they' tell me to expect 40* or lower during the night, I cover up my warm-weather crops like tomatoes. I use everything from heavy row cover to blankets and towels draped over bent wire clothes hangers or bamboo stakes buried in the ground around the plant. You don't want the leaves touching the covering when it hits the freezing mark or it'll freeze the leaves and damage your plant so don't just drape your covers over the plant itself.

I know that the frost point is 32* but when the forecast is that close, it can drop a few extra degrees in individual gardens. Why take the chance.
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Re: Cold weather!

Post  Kate888 on 5/25/2013, 1:01 am

Had to cover up my tomatoes, peppers and herbs last night and tonight. I hope that will be the end of the cold weather then. They seemed to do all right with the covering last night, though it's supposed to be colder tonight here in Indiana.
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Re: Cold weather!

Post  floyd1440 on 5/25/2013, 1:19 am

Hard to believe it is still getting this cold 25th of May!!! I must be on the same page with quitabee as I put stakes in the ground above the plants, covered most up with buckets and them put a blanket overtop of the once nice looking SFG.

A couple of weeks ago we got a hard frost and I lost all the toms I had out as it dropped 6 more degrees than predicted. A neighbor who works at the local ACE hardware said they lost almost all there new inventory of plants they just got it as they figure the freeze would miss them.

One night of frost can ruin a whole lot of work starting from seeds or worse buying them from a nursery twice!!!!
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Re: Cold weather!

Post  jmsieglaff on 5/25/2013, 8:18 am

Hope all your covering did the trick!
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Re: Cold weather!

Post  moswell on 5/25/2013, 11:06 am

I have one very floppy-topped pepper plant right now. It's so windy out there, and with the plywood bottom on my box I haven't figured out how to stake things so they stay up in just 6 inches of soil. Sad Any ideas?
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Re: Cold weather!

Post  quiltbea on 5/25/2013, 11:13 am

moswell.....To hold up your plants, how about upside-down tomato cages buried in the soil around the plant. Their base would keep them from toppling and the encircling wire would hold up the plants. Try Family Dollar stores for both the smaller ones and the larger cages at a reasonable price.
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Re: Cold weather!

Post  moswell on 5/25/2013, 11:15 am

@quiltbea wrote:moswell.....To hold up your plants, how about upside-down tomato cages buried in the soil around the plant. Their base would keep them from toppling and the encircling wire would hold up the plants. Try Family Dollar stores for both the smaller ones and the larger cages at a reasonable price.
Upside down, hmm. That makes sense. And I have at least one in my shed right now. The pepper is too small for it right now (just planted within the last couple weeks), but assuming it survives that sounds like it should work. Thanks!
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Re: Cold weather!

Post  shawnteh on 5/25/2013, 11:46 am

It seems that most of the plants made it through the night. My cucumber is a little floppy, but hopefully it will be ok.
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Re: Cold weather!

Post  CapeCoddess on 5/25/2013, 11:57 am

@moswell wrote: with the plywood bottom on my box I haven't figured out how to stake things so they stay up in just 6 inches of soil. Sad

This is a very good point. I just staked up a rabbit barrier and the stakes went down thru the cardboard bottom and into the 'lawn' below. I'll have to remember this issue if/when I move to raised beds.

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Re: Cold weather!

Post  donnainzone5 on 5/25/2013, 2:18 pm

Try "planting" your stakes or trellises in the ground just outside your boxes. By that, I mean a fraction of an inch.
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Re: Cold weather!

Post  sanderson on 5/26/2013, 3:05 am

I had to provide stakes for a tall tomato and a zucchini that I am trying to grow vertically. Two 1-foot rebars pounded half way into the ground outside the box, just slightly off-center of the one foot space. Two 2-foot PVC slipped over them, 2 elbow connectors to attach the horizontal PVC. I stuck 6' bamboo next to each plant and secured each to the horizontal PVC with green stretchy tape. Then I secured each plant to their bamboo as they grew. The tomato is to the top of its bamboo. Here are photos. It's hard to explain. The little pepper will be able to have a secured stake, it the little booger would only grow!

May 7

May 24
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Re: Cold weather!

Post  walshevak on 5/26/2013, 8:14 am

That is just what is needed in the plywood bottomed flower bed at my son's house. The oriental lilies just flop over. Can't wait to tell him.

Kay

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Re: Cold weather!

Post  CapeCoddess on 5/26/2013, 12:11 pm

good idea , sanderson...I like it!

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Re: Cold weather!

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