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To cover or not to cover...

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To cover or not to cover...

Post  mschaef on 3/25/2015, 2:57 pm

That is the question. Our temps are dropping to 30 degree Fahrenheit Friday and and 27 degrees Fahrenheit by Saturday morning. I have peas, carrots, lettuce, kale, and spinach in the sfg bed. Do I need to cover them or just some of them? Any thought would be appreciated. This is my first time with a spring garden.
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Re: To cover or not to cover...

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/25/2015, 3:11 pm

If you can it won't hurt.  But I was at the office one day last spring and looked out the window in horror as it was snowing unexpectedly.  My cold crops were planted out and not covered.  Afterward the whole SFG was covered with a thin coating of snow for about 3 days. I thought for sure the lettuces were a goner if nothing else.  But lo and behold, the sun came out and everything crisped up nice and fresh as if nothing had happened. *shrug*  

Even though it all worked out, this year I'll be planting out a few at a time...just in case. Wink
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Re: To cover or not to cover...

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/25/2015, 3:38 pm

I'd cover them.

I'm waiting till this cold snap is over this weekend, then, OUT everything goes!  :-)
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Re: To cover or not to cover...

Post  yolos on 3/25/2015, 6:02 pm

@AtlantaMarie wrote:I'd cover them.

I'm waiting till this cold snap is over this weekend, then, OUT everything goes!  :-)

+1

The carrots, Kale and spinach should have no problem surviving. I will not be covering mine this weekend.   Over the winter I only covered my Kale and carrots if the temps dropped below 25*F. I did not cover my spinach at all and it survived ok.

I am not sure about the lettuce.  I also have lettuce.  I think it depends on whether the lettuce is more heat tolerant or more cold tolerant.  Windmere had some really cold tolerant lettuce and did not cover it and it survived fairly well.   I am going to wait until the day before the drop in temps to decide whether to cover my lettuce.

Peas - This winter I did not cover mine at all.  I think the cold only damages the flowers and fruits.  My peas eventually succumbed to the below 20*F weather we had this past winter.  I also have a new planting of peas and I am not going to cover them unless the temps drop more than forecast.

It also depends on how long the temps will be below freezing.  We traditionally have our lowest temps at about 6-7 am and within an hour the temp will rise above freezing.  So look at one of the forecasts that give you hourly temp forecasts and see how long it will be below freezing. 

This last winter was my first experience with long term growing in cold temps so I am fairly inexperienced.  So if someone has better info, forget what I said.  Also, it does depend a little on how much these veggies have been exposed to previous cold spells.
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Re: To cover or not to cover...

Post  Mikesgardn on 3/25/2015, 8:15 pm

27-degrees in Georgia at this time of year?   Crazy.
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Re: To cover or not to cover...

Post  CitizenKate on 3/25/2015, 8:40 pm

I was wondering the same thing.  The planting calendar for our zone recommends having our lettuce, onions, spinach broccoli, etc. out by mid-late March, but we still have temperatures that get just below freezing most nights.  I don't know if it's because they are hardy against light freezes, or whether having a method of covering them is part of the process.  I've been covering mine at night, to be safe, but next time I go to the garden center, I'll ask them what they do.
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Re: To cover or not to cover...

Post  mschaef on 3/25/2015, 9:02 pm

I check the weather for an hourly display and here is what I found out: Friday night we aren't going to drop below freezing. Saturday night again not going below freezing. Sunday morning though at 3am we drop below and stay below freezing for 6 hours. I'm assuming my plants will be fine un-cover til Sunday morning when they will need a blanket.
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Re: To cover or not to cover...

Post  sanderson on 3/26/2015, 1:47 am

I always pictured the SE as a warm region??

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Re: To cover or not to cover...

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/26/2015, 11:02 am

Yeah, mostly.  Except in mid-Jan to mid-April.  Then we can expect anything from really nice to solid ice.  I remember the big snowstorm in mid-March 1993.  We got over a foot of snow.  (Which I'd rather have than the ice any day!)

But, Mschaef, it looks like that'll be the end of freezing for us.  Which is nice - 2 weeks early!
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Re: To cover or not to cover...

Post  yolos on 3/26/2015, 11:31 am

Do you guys plant out after the last expected frost.  Or for tomatoes, eggplant, peppers do you wait until the lows are over 50 or 55*F ??
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Re: To cover or not to cover...

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/26/2015, 5:25 pm

I'm planning to start towards the end of next week, regardless.  We'll see how they do...
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Re: To cover or not to cover...

Post  walshevak on 3/28/2015, 9:37 am

Expecting frost tonight in Wilmington, NC. but I just put out my seeds yesterday so not worried.  Nothing is up.  The spinach and radichio plants I put out should be hardy enough.  


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Re: To cover or not to cover...

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