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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
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Cold weather!

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CapeCoddess
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Post  shawnteh 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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Post  jmsieglaff 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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Post  shawnteh 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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Post  moswell 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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Post  floyd1440 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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Post  shawnteh 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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Post  camprn 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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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Post  jmsieglaff 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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Post  jmsieglaff 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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Post  camprn 5/24/2013, 10:58 pm

Frost is also dependent upon the dew point

____________________________

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https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-weeks-until-frost

There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t1306-other-gardening-books



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Post  jmsieglaff 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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Post  floyd1440 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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Post  quiltbea 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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Post  Kate888 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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Post  floyd1440 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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Post  jmsieglaff 5/25/2013, 8:18 am

Hope all your covering did the trick!
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Post  moswell 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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Post  quiltbea 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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Post  moswell 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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Post  shawnteh 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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Post  CapeCoddess 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.

CC
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Post  donnainzone5 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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Post  sanderson 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!

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

good idea , sanderson...I like it!

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