How cold is too cold for peppers, summer squash?

2ajsmamaSeptember 20, 2012

May have dodged the bullet last night, was 46 when I got up at 6:30 today. But didn't cover the peppers like I did last week when it was 43. No way to cover the huge zuke plants and the 2nd planting of yellow squash, mini-pumpkins and gourds.

Supposed to get to 43 again this weekend - should I just harvest everything no matter how small?

I'm wondering if this is why my zukes have been skinny at the blossom end, 1 was almost hollow, and I've been getting gray mold at the ends on some. Been a tough month for squash - haven't harvested 1 yet from 2nd planting of straightneck I seeded in July.

Last year I had peppers until end of Oct (snowstorm) but I don't recall the lows - I know I did cover them a few times but I had more, though shorter, rows closer together and it was easier to throw tarps over them.

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myfamilysfarm

Sheila, you can go back into the history of accuweather and find out close to what you had last year.

Are your zukes the first ones of this harvest. I have had that problem with the beginners. Just pick them and throw away or feed cows. Mold is too much water, usually. It's awfully late for zukes around here. What is your average frost date?

Peppers will survive until frost kill, but if the fruit gets frosted they will not be as nice or hold as well versus frost-free produce. The fruit will get soft spots and turn white areas.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 9:29AM
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2ajsmama

The zuke plants are the original ones, still getting some female flowers (and male flowers) but most of them are not being pollinated. The ones that are have the problems I described. Had 2" of rain 9/8 and another 2" 9/18, some cool nights with heavy dew - just finishing pulling all the tomato plants.

Pepper plants don't look so good after 2" of rain and high winds on Tues - some actually uprooted, lots looking wilted. Maybe they'll recover. But most of the exotics look like they'd be better off being potted up and taken inside (if I get a chance to do that this weekend). Except for my Pimento Tangerine which has some fruit starting to ripen, and the Cascabel which is loaded - I don't want to touch them, will just try to cover those 2.

Jalapenos didn't do much this year - serranos look a lot better, lots more peppers on them, but they're small. I think I'm going to go back to the spot I had them last year, near the house. Maybe they'll do better next year.

Average frost date is coming up net week - last year was unusually warm, until the Oct 28 snowstorm with 2 ft snowfall. Don't have it for my town (and I'm on the corner of 3 towns), but airport and the closest town in the other direction say 9/28-30 with 50% prob., I usually figure by Oct 1 for sure (even though the 90% prob for those 2 locations are 10/8 and 10/12).

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 12:26PM
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Slimy_Okra(2b)

What are your day temps like? If its warm and sunny in the day, 43 isn't too bad. If it's rainy and cool all the time, then you may as well pull them up.

Funny thing I've noticed about squash is that they are more resistant to cool weather than peppers or tomatoes, but if there's a light frost, the squash are the very first to die.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 3:36PM
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2ajsmama

Low-mid 70's next couple of days, falling to mid 60's over the weekend (when the lows are supposed to be around 43), then back up around 70 each day next week. So looks like won't be a frost until Oct, but things could change.

I guess I'll leave everything be, maybe I can get some yellow squash and a few more zukes for next Friday's market. They're growing reeealllly slowly, gourds too. Rest of my mini-pumpkins just aren't ripening, and they have downy mildew (cut affected leaves off and now more are shriveling), might have to sell those white/light yellow.

Market attendance is really dropping off, and with my kids in school and older one playing sports (DH has been taking off early to meet DD's bus and then run to town to pick up DS), it's getting not to be worth it to go to market. Esp. with gas over $4/gal. Think I'll call it quits next week, not worry about the couple of Oct markets.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 4:15PM
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myfamilysfarm

Sometimes, you just have to quit early. It's hard to be consistent the entire market length.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 5:47PM
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2ajsmama

Time to start making jams and jellies - but with attendance the way it's been, I don't know if it's even worth the 14-mile round trip to bring them. Maybe if I take my car (30mpg) instead of the truck (14mpg) - which means no table or EZ Up.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 6:41PM
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myfamilysfarm

At least it won't be 100 degrees either. You will find that people will look for you AND your canopy. It was amazing to me that without the canopy, people couldn't recognize me, even being in the same spot.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 8:10PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

I just let mine get frosted real well a few times and then I pull them anyway. If you leave them out there and let them get frozen a few times, they're easier to pull. I bet if you moved the car's front passenger seat back and reclined it, you could get your canopy in the car if it makes a difference in sales. Funny how that works, isn't it?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 7:49AM
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Spicebush

We have a bed each of yellow summer squash and cucumbers planted in black plastic. We planted them a couple of months ago. The squash plants are starting to form little fruits, about 3 inches long right now. We put a row cover on them and they have survived some low temps: one night of 31 degrees, and a couple of 35 degree nights, many nights in the upper 30s. The row cover creates a warmer environment during the day so they grow faster. In the portion of the bed that doesn't have row cover, the plants are about 5 inches tall. Under the cover, the plants are about 24 inches tall. Makes a huge difference! The uncovered plants were killed back by the frost but some of them are putting out new growth so the roots obviously weren't killed.

Our daytime temps have been in the 50s for a week or more and the plants are growing well. The row covers have been in place for about three weeks now.

We need to uncover the cukes during the day for pollination. Our honeybees are still out and about during the day. This week is supposed to have highs in the 60s.

In spring we keep row covers on our eggplant to protect them from flea beetles. It makes them grow much larger and faster. We take the covers off when the plants start to bloom.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 5:45AM
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2ajsmama

I was asking about uncovered. I did end up covering the peppers a few times, got a lot of Cubanelles and serranos, rest aren't doing too well this year (and no one wants to buy the ones I do have, everyone wants bells). Lots of zukes, but the yellow squash was a 2nd planting and was too late - have only gotten 1-2 off each plant. Pulled the pumpkins and gourds early b/c of DM, just pulled the zukes this week b/c of DM and gray mold, though I covered the yellow squash again when lows got below 40 and I'm hoping for more.

But now Friday's low is supposed to be 29, so I'm done. Not even going to market this week (the last week), I think it might be too cold, and I have no fresh produce left to bring (other than chard which no one bought all year). It's the last market anyway.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 8:19AM
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myfamilysfarm

Actually the last day of market is usually one of the best days of fall for sales. Bring lots of jellies and whatever produce you have. People like to stock up on that last day.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 1:45PM
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2ajsmama

I only have a dozen jars of various pepper jellies, my grape jelly really hasn't set yet and I think I have to remake the Blueberry Lime since overripe blueberries = no pectin, no set and it's too much lime to market as a syrup. Just not sure it's worth it - have to see what time I can get over there after donating blood and picking DD up from school, and how cold it is.

People stocked up on the produce last week - I sold out of tomatoes and zukes. Even if I harvest more peppers tomorrow, I don't think they'll sell since I don't have any bells left. Raining today, might get a couple straightneck tomorrow, I'll have to check. I just figured I'd blanch and freeze them for us.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 2:38PM
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