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First Frost!

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First Frost!

Post  donnainzone5 on 9/19/2013, 10:17 am

It froze this morning! The rooftops turned white, although I think my plants avoided much damage.

Two nights ago, I got nervous about the predictions of temps in the mid-to-high 30s and covered what I could with a hodge-podge of materials--old sheets and blankets, a tarp, last year's frost cloth, etc. Everything looked fine yesterday, but I'll wait a few hours to uncover and inspect today.

Well, at least our first frost date was 12 days late!
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RE: First Frost!

Post  happycamper on 9/19/2013, 5:25 pm

I am so glad you were able to cover your garden.  I hope everything survived.  Nights are getting cool here, quilts are back on the bed, windows are closed at night, one air conditioner has been stored and I will be closing the storm windows soon.  Fall is here!
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Re: First Frost!

Post  donnainzone5 on 9/19/2013, 5:36 pm

So far, so good! Nothing froze, possibly because freezing temps arrived after sunrise. And, of course, my irrigation system triggered itself around that time. Although I specified no overhead watering to the irrigation guy, it doesn't quite work that way.

FYI, I monitor FOUR weather websites each day, including Weather Channel's agricultural section. I've been tracking temps since mid-June, so, if I average the predictions and subract (or add) several degrees, I have a fair idea of what to expect.

I'm tempted to move my basil and sage indoors. Opinions?
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Re: First Frost!

Post  Turan on 9/19/2013, 11:32 pm

In my experience basil is unable to handle frost at all, so I would bring it in. Sage is hardier but I do not know how much so.

We just missed a frost last night, the clouds hung around until dawn protecting us. Tonight the moon is bright and glorious and I think there is no chance to miss a frost. I just picked stuff and tucked close the cold frames and greenhouse tonight.

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Re: First Frost!

Post  happycamper on 9/20/2013, 1:12 am

I would bring the Basil indoors.  I had always thought Sage was hardy to Zone 4 but I think it depends on the variety.  You could always start more next year if it doesn't overwinter and you don't want to bring it in.
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Re: First Frost!

Post  donnainzone5 on 9/20/2013, 11:50 am

Thanks for your comments about my herbs! The basil did survive the 28-degree frost we had yesterday morning, but only because I had it covered.

To be on the safe side (I MUST have fresh sage for my holiday turkey stuffing), I'll transplant soon. So far, the forecasts look relatively safe for the next few days, but I'll watch and sniff the air like a hawk.
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Re: First Frost!

Post  CapeCoddess on 9/20/2013, 12:07 pm

This is good to know about the basil.  I had no idea and mine's growing like gangbusters.  I'll bring some in along with the parsley.

Does oregano transplant and grow for winter?  I love fresh oregano! I love you 

CC
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Re: First Frost!

Post  donnainzone5 on 9/20/2013, 12:10 pm

CC,

I believe that oregano may overwinter, but I think I'll move mine inside soon. It's one of several herbs that thrive indoors.
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Re: First Frost!

Post  CapeCoddess on 9/20/2013, 12:20 pm

Oh, oregano definitely overwinters here dying back & popping up in spring double size.  Shocked
But I'll take some inside also just to have it fresh and hope it works.

CC
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Re: First Frost!

Post  Turan on 9/20/2013, 12:50 pm

Light frost last night. Just enough to wilt the big leaves on the winter squash. Everything else looks fine.

Any one know if I should cut and bring the field corn stalks with ears in to finish maturing? Or will just bringing the ears in work?

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Re: First Frost!

Post  donnainzone5 on 9/20/2013, 1:05 pm

Turan,

I've been wondering much the same thing about corn.

Here's something I tried the other night: I placed garden gloves on some of the more mature ears to keep them warmer. I don't know whether this trick will help, but I plan to keep trying it until the experiment either fails or succeeds.
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Re: First Frost!

Post  plantoid on 9/20/2013, 4:47 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:Turan,

I've been wondering much the same thing about corn.

Here's something I tried the other night:  I placed garden gloves on some of the more mature ears to keep them warmer.  I don't know whether this trick will help, but I plan to keep trying it until the experiment either fails or succeeds.  
Give it a bit of thought and artistic intent and you could have a brill Halloween display of the corn monster playing goalie / saving a goal  in a Halloween game of soccer
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Re: First Frost!

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/20/2013, 6:07 pm

We have oregano growing wild out here, so it must overwinter pretty well. Mint and rosemary too. I don't know if thyme is naturalized here, but it's supposed to be really tough and a perennial. My basil died last winter.
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Re: First Frost!

Post  Goosegirl on 9/20/2013, 7:42 pm

@Marc Iverson wrote:We have oregano growing wild out here, so it must overwinter pretty well.  Mint and rosemary too.  I don't know if thyme is naturalized here, but it's supposed to be really tough and a perennial.  My basil died last winter.
Basil is very sensitive (unusual for a mint relative).  If it even hears a weather report forecasting frost it will turn black! 

GG
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Could be??? 37 tomorrow night!

Post  brianj555 on 11/18/2017, 12:37 pm

I learned during the hurricane “Nate” that you can do more damage to your plants trying to protect them than good.  It’s supposed to hit 37 degrees tomorrow night.  I still have many full size tomatoes preparing to break red, many mid size and very small ones that are still growing and many blooms on the vine . ( 30 + tomaotes) I’m not really fooling myself into thinking that the really small ones will probably ever reach maturity , but the mid size one’s might and the full size one’s should. Basically , the largest best looking tomaotes I have had so far should be turning in the next week or so.  I do realize we are dead on my first projected frost date and no further than 3 weeks away from the first projected frost date depending on the source.
So,  at 37 degrees based on all the variables, what do you guys think would be best to do?  
I could cover them again and or set an ocilating heater a couple feet away ( this is mainly what I’m wondering about.  Is putting a heater near them a big “no no”? Or could it help??). At 37 is either of those necessary?  Or on the more intensive side, is it time to pull them and hang them in the garage?  ( def not what I’m wanting to do just yet but I will). 

I asked some of these same questions about 3 weeks ago and you guys have some great advice, but with it later in the year and with winter getting closer and closer, I thought I would put it on the table again and see what y’all thought I should do .  I appreciate any help.
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Re: First Frost!

Post  donnainzone5 on 11/18/2017, 12:52 pm

I had quite a few tomatoes late in the summer.  The ones with even a slight blush ripened well, after being picked and brought inside.

However, the ones that were tiny and/or still totally green did not ripen or survive the frost--even the ones in the greenhouse.  

We'd had a later summer, following a cool, wet spring.  Once summer actually arrived in July, the temps often were above 90F or below 50F, which of course inhibited blossoming and fruiting.

Perhaps next year will be better....
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Re: First Frost!

Post  countrynaturals on 11/18/2017, 1:41 pm

@donnainzone5 wrote:I had quite a few tomatoes late in the summer.  The ones with even a slight blush ripened well, after being picked and brought inside.

However, the ones that were tiny and/or still totally green did not ripen or survive the frost--even the ones in the greenhouse.  

We'd had a later summer, following a cool, wet spring.  Once summer actually arrived in July, the temps often were above 90F or below 50F, which of course inhibited blossoming and fruiting.

Perhaps next year will be better....
Sad "Perhaps next year will be better...." That's what I say every year too, but so far, no luck. I also tried to grow tomatoes in Oregon, starting with plants from our daughter, who was living in Ca at the time. The plants already had blossoms and green fruit when I got them from her in June. When I threw them away in October, they had bigger green fruit, but not a single one ever ripened. Mad
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Re: First Frost!

Post  donnainzone5 on 11/18/2017, 2:07 pm

Hmmm....

I wonder if pumping some extra CO2 into a greenhouse would facilitate tomato ripening.  It's a fact that it does enhance plant growth.  

In my own situation, I can't grow tomatoes in the greenhouse until and unless I install shade cloth.  Otherwise, any plant will bake in the heat (up to 120F).
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Re: First Frost!

Post  littlejo on 11/18/2017, 9:23 pm

Brian, I don't know your specific weather, but I live in 8 to 8.5 and we have a couple cold nights, warm days, then it gets in the 40's at night, etc. It doesn't stay cold at night til Jan. or Feb.
I think I'd gather leaves if poss. or pine straw and pile it on the plants at the base. If you can keep there feet from freezing, they should survive. If you don't get this deep mulch off the plant in the heat, it will not kill the plant like a blanket or cover.

I had a terrible yr. for tomatoes, but, I have cukes, limas, eggplant, and bell peppers. I picked a WM bag full of peppers today and they are still blooming. I have never thought of bell peppers as a fall crop but they seem to love the cool weather.

Jo
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Re: First Frost!

Post  brianj555 on 11/19/2017, 10:18 am

Thanks.  So what do you guys think about the heater ?  I am trying to protect/ focus on protecting a 4 x 4 area with 5 tomato plants and various other cool weather crops. If using an ocilating heater isn’t a BIG “no no” I was planning on putting it under a table about two feet away .  I don’t even know if this is necessary at 37 degrees, but I am curious.  I will be covering them regardless.  It’s supposed to get to 39 about 2 am and then hit 37 about 6 am.  The local weather station is calling for a “light frost”.


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Re: First Frost!

Post  AtlantaMarie on 11/19/2017, 3:06 pm

Brian, I gotta tell you, I am concerned that even though it's moving, you're gonna burn your plants with that heater only 2 feet away from them...... If I put a heater in the greenhouse, it'll be at least 6 feet away from the plants. I want them warm, but not toasted, lol. :-)

Keep in mind that I have not used an oscillating fan personally. Can anyone jump in here that has experience?
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Re: First Frost!

Post  brianj555 on 11/19/2017, 4:19 pm

@AtlantaMarie wrote:Brian, I gotta tell you, I am concerned that even though it's moving, you're gonna burn your plants with that heater only 2 feet away from them......  If I put a heater in the greenhouse, it'll be at least 6 feet away from the plants.  I want them warm, but not toasted, lol.  :-)

Keep in mind that I have not used an oscillating fan personally.  Can anyone jump in here that has experience?
Thanks.  I agree.   I pretty much decided just to go with this,  I thoroughly watered the soil and then covered. 

What cha think?
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Re: First Frost!

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 11/19/2017, 4:46 pm

Covering looks good, Brian - I was about to echo AtlantaMarie's concerns. If you still have the manual you will likely find the instructions say to have flammable objects at least 3 feet away from the front of the heater rather than 2... as well as an admonishment that says (capitalization emphasis is as in the manual, not added by me) "DO NOT use Heater outdoors."

The most temperature sensitive part of tomatoes is blossom set, which stops around 50-55*F depending on what page you look at. Since you're just looking to get what you have more ripe, that's not a problem. Your covers should be enough to keep the plants above 40*F for the night, which is the temperature I've seen listed as the minimum tomatoes will tolerate. Mine have seemed ok after no-frost evenings that went below 40*F -- but there's variables like how long it's cold for, how hot it got that day (how much heat has been 'saved up'), whether it's clear or cloudy... and what the *actual* temperature/conditions were in my garden. There was one morning when I got up before it started to warm and looked out: I could see that the grass in my backyard was frosty right up to a few feet from my garden fence. (I think that was after the tomatoes already got frost-bit, but still.)

I'll keep my fingers crossed for your tomatoes, but I think the cover will do its job. I've been impressed by how much a cover did to protect my peppers. Let us know how it goes!
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Re: First Frost!

Post  yolos on 11/19/2017, 5:25 pm

I tried the heater thing one year.  But I only went out to the garden at the time the temp became a problem and stuck a much smaller heater in a small opening and left it there about 15 minutes to warm up the inside of the tented tomatoes.  Worked okay but who wants to go running out to the garden in the wee hours of the morning so I only did it a few times.

My best protection was to build a tent around the tomatoes such as you have done.  But I also put old timey Christmas lights (that get warm, not LED)  around the tomato cage and then covered up the tomatoes with a tent made of 6 mil plastic.  It worked like a charm and all I had to do was plug the lights in before I went to bed and unplugged them when I woke in the morning.  I also pulled the plastic back when the temp moderated a bit so they could get full sun for part of the day.  Here is a picture of what i did last year.  The picture of the tomato with the ripe tomatoes on the vine was taken on 12/31/16.  





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Re: First Frost!

Post  brianj555 on 11/19/2017, 5:49 pm

Thanks beetles , yolos joe and Marie.
Those are some pretty big tomaotes you’ve got there yolos.
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