Freeze Warning - What to leave uncovered??

soonergrandmomMarch 26, 2011

One forecast has me in the freeze warning area and one does not, so I guess I am in a MAYBE area. I have covered a few things, but not all. I have had peas not harmed by snowfall in the past so I assume they will be OK but not sure. Should the onions be covered? I have never covered either of these before but would sure hate to lose them. I have a few things up, like radishes and beets and I had a row cover (with a few holes) to throw over them. I have a sheer curtain over the potato foliage, and a piece of plastic over the strawberry bed. I need to stretch it again just before dark and make sure it doesn't fall down and touch the leaves.

I don't normally cover this type of thing, but if they are talking eight hours of below freezing temps, I got a little worried.

What are you covering?

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I'm like you. One is saying possibly 3 nights for 28-30 now. But this morning the same source didn't have any temps lower than 33 for the next week. All the other sources are saying from 30 up. I don't feel it will hurt anything unless it drops a lot colder than even the low one says. It could freeze the tops of the onions back a little but I don't think with the soil temps where they are you will see anymore than that. I just finished soaking the onions good today so that should help also. The garlic, shallots, potato onions and what potatoes I have out all are mulched so I have no worries with them. I was going to plant radishes and sugar snaps this weekend but decided to wait a few more days to see what is going to happen. Jay

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 9:59PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Our forecast is for 37 so I'm expecting 33 or 34 at the worst and not covering anything. Everything I have in the ground is cool-season so should be fine, and all the flats of warm-season crops are in the garage, so they'll be fine.

I don't worry about covering any cool-season crops unless we'e going below 25.

We needed this cooldown. We hit 90 yesterday in the shade at our house, and the yard and garden were full of grasshoppers whizzing around. It is too soon to be that hot and to deal with them, so I hope the cool weather discourages them.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 10:18PM
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Dawn we hit 90 last week but not this week. Knock on wood. Not a lot of pests and insects around yet like normal. I know you say you usually see more after a cold winter and I usually see less at least early on. Not sure what the difference is. Later on the pests that come in on the winds from down south will be here as I'm sure it didn't get cold enough down there to hurt them. But early on those that are native here are fewer usually after very cold winters. Jay

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 10:30PM
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I have sugar snaps growing along 2 trellises and 4 t-pees, so it would be hard to cover them. The onions I planted for 'green onions' are not up yet and the walking onions have been out all winter, but have been replanted to a new area recently. I'm not worried about either of those, but the 400 or so bulbing onions would be a big loss. More so in time than money. All the info I can find says they will go well passed a freezing temperture without harm so I hope they are right. Everything that I have outside should be tough enough to withstand the temps and not be bothered, but it was easy enough to cover a few things. I have a bed of cool season things and some of them are up an inch or so. My snowpeas were still in the flat so they (along with a pot of lettuce) came inside for the night. All of the warm season things are still under lights so that's no problem. I say 'all' but I really just mean tomatoes and peppers.

I also have 48 broccoli plants that are inside again. I hope after this week it will be dry enough to get the broccoli in the ground. I have a empty raised bed that could take part of it if the ground is still too wet although that is not what I had planned to do. The forecast that didn't include us earlier has now added us and dropped some counties to our south, but one is still showing us a low of 34, and another at 31. My stuff should be OK with that, I think. I hope those are not 'famous last words'. I am ready for Spring.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 10:31PM
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I didn't cover the onions either, Carol. They're in the OG (original garden) this year on the east side. The wild plum thicket is to the west and swings around the north side so I'm hoping they're well protected. They haven't been bit by the two frost we've had since they went in the ground. Now, my got covered with plastic drop cloths. We took apart some 4' high, round wire cages that I foolishly used for tomatoes a few years back. They worked perfect, stretched out in length then re-curved to go over the row of 23. (there were 24, but one was over a gopher run that WAS still active...grrrr) A few yard staples and they're all tucked in nice and cozy! My broccoli is in pots on the back deck and they got a milk-jug tent. I didn't cover the lettuce or radishes in the whiskey barrels. Should I?

OH!!! And GD's prized mega-cabbage got a black plastic trash bag coat. We have too many wild plums to worry about so I'm leaving that to Mother Nature. The blueberries....I'm just keeping my fingers crossed. They got a good drink yesterday and they're almost ready to pop their leaves, so maybe I'll get lucky? This is their 3rd year. I'm so hoping to get to taste one this year!


    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 10:35PM
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I didn't cover any of my berry plants either and I'm not worried about them. Everything is watered at my house since we have had rain the last two nights, and last night it was just under an inch. I considered putting the berry vines under cover but decided not to. My two blueberries are in the ground but the others are in containers so I could have moved them. I have 3 new rhubarb plants that just have a couple of leaves but even if they get nipped, I think they will be OK. It is 37 with pathy drizzle right now. Yuck!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 11:00PM
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joellenh(6b Jenks)

I don't think you need to cover your strawberries. I NEVER cover mine all winter and they are gorgeous and green every spring.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 12:43AM
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Jo, Mine have just been in the ground a couple of weeks or I wouldn't have bothered. Thanks tho. Carol

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 12:49AM
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joellenh(6b Jenks)

Strawberry beds (3 of them) in early march.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 12:54AM
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Here we are around 34 this morning. The NWS said 28. But they predict for Dodge City, KS and not us. Recently I kept watching their soil temp maps and thinking it was too cold to plant potatoes. I kept seeing weeds and flowers coming up. I finally checked myself and we were almost ten degrees higher. Guess they longer have the site here in our county and just use the temp from the Dodge site which is further north. Farmers will plant corn here 10-14 days before they do there. Guess the elimination of sites is a cost cutting measure. So with the other 2 sites I watch both saying we would be around or above freezing I'm not surprised. Hope everyone else survived ok. Jay

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 7:54AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Our forecast is wrong so often I don't even know why I look at it, and I am looking at the NWS forecast point closest to us (very close to us) which is for Bomar, OK. It gave us a forecast low of 37 and by 7 a.m. we had gone done to only 42 at Burneyville (they forecast for Bomar but don't show recorded temperatures from there) and 46 degrees at our house. So, we stayed surprisingly warmer than usual.

Carol, I've only had onions suffer freeze damage if the ground was pretty cold and wet and the temps went down into the 20s. In warmer ground, they tolerate a pretty low overnight temp pretty well.

Jay, I'm getting ready to plant a regular OP corn and a regular hybrid corn here this week unless some sort of unforecasted bitter cold spell pops up out of nowhere. My ground was warm enough last week even for supersweet and synergystic corns, but has dropped some over the weekend, which really isn't relevant since I'm not planting those types. It's just nice to know I probably could plant them this early if I wanted to.

One nice thing about the cooler temps, lower wind speeds and higher humidities is that fire danger for today has dropped to "Moderate". Also, they've increased our rain chances to 40 to 50% for a couple of days this week. That doesn't mean we'll get any rain, but it gives us a better chance of getting some.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 8:09AM
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joellenh(6b Jenks)

Carol I just saw that your beds are new, I see why you were concerned! It was VERY cold here last night but I don't think it froze here in Tulsa.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 8:48AM
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I have covered three beds with frost blanket which has potatoes, fava beans/sweet peas and one bed has tiny seedling of radishes/carrots/beets/kohlrabi etc

By the way, frost blanket is very thin, i hope that will save potatoes and tiny seedlings.

FYI: Our Garden thermometer, Norman Mesonet and my iPhone all shows temp 37 degree. Fortunately Norman mesonet site is quite close us, i should trust their readings. -Chandra

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 9:10AM
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You are lucky to have an accurate site close to you. The station the NWS uses is on a hill a mile from me. And can be several degrees warmer than where I'm at in a low spot. The WUG site around 3 miles as the crow flies is usually the one that is closest to what my thermometers read. But for the last few months the NWS site has read lower than any of the 3 WUG sites around. So not sure if the NWS site needs calibrated or not. The WUG sites and my thermometer were all around 33-34 this morning. While the NWS site showed 30. But nothing indicated that cold. So I highly doubt it was. You should be ok. The potatoes will be for sure. Not knowing for sure what your temps were hard to say about the seedlings. But with any cover and the ground temps most of us have I would guess you should be fine. Jay

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 10:18AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


With the frost blanket, they should be labeled when you buy them and the label should say whether it gives you 2-4 degrees of protection or 8 degrees or whatever.

The row cover that I have that gives 8 degees of protection is heavier and thicker and looks more like a white sheet because you can't really see the detail of plants beneath it.

The row cover that I have that gives 2-4 degrees of protection is more lightweight and more sheer and it is easy to see details of plants beneath it.

If you have the lighter weight type of row cover that gives less protection, the next time a cold night threatens, you can put down two layers instead of one and it will give your plants more protection.

A single layer of the lightweight row cover that gives 2 to 4 degrees of protection has kept tender, warm-season plants from freezing in fall even when the overnight low dipped much lower than expected and I thought the row cover wouldn't provide adequate protection.

I have a lot of the lightweight row cover and use it frequently. I have much less of the heavyweight and only use it on very cold nights.

Jay, I can't even get the thermometers in our yard to agree with one another, and all of them are mounted at about the same height and all of them are in the shade. Often, we'll see a 1 to 4 degree variation in the temperature they're reporting.

Our local NWS Co-operative Observer is only a couple of miles NW of us but on slightly higher land so while his weather reports are similar to ours, they aren't always the same. The OKMesonet Station at Burneyville is maybe 7 miles NW of us as the crow flies, but a lot further by road, and sits at a lower elevation. It often goes a bit colder than we do at night, and we're often 2 to 5 degrees warmer than it during the day
So far, in the years that I've really paid close attention to the weather, it seems that the weather data from the Gainesville Airport is usuallly closest to what we actually see here at our house.

It still isn't too bad here this morning, but heavily overcast and currently 45 degrees which seems incredibly cold compared to the 85-90 degrees we had earlier in the week.

I hope all the little grasshoppers are shivering out there in the cold.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 10:50AM
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