What do you think?

shankins123(7aOKC)May 1, 2013

I had originally posted this under the "topsy-turvy weather" message, but really want input, so...I'm putting it here :-)

All of my (14) tomatoes are hardened off and planted in the ground. Last night I covered them with cut-off plastic milk jugs and kind of banked the soil up around them. I do not have lids for all of them, though.
The last I heard, OKC's forecast for Friday morning is right at 32 (I heard this last night; it may have changed). Will that tiny opening at the top negate the whole covering? The only other thing I can think to do is to get plastic wrap over the tops and secure it with a rubber band (!)


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I think i would use something more breatheable than plastic wrap. Something clothlike. Old sheets, pillowcases, etc.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 5:49PM
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I forgot to mention, but each of my plants is also ensconced within their separate cages...making row cover or other (large) covers impossible :-(


    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 6:40PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Think of the openings as little chimneys. Don't think the cold will go in, but the warmth might escape. I would think your plants will be OK. You will have the soil warmth going for you.

Wish I still had little kids around--don't drink milk now, but really used those gallon jugs in the garden when the son and daughter were growing up. They are wonderful "hot caps" or miniature greenhouses, and free to boot.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 7:40PM
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Slap a square piece of duct tape on there and it should be fine. Late in the morning after it has warmed up a bit peal it off. After it has warmed up significantly, remove the milk jug.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 8:26PM
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Scott, I should have known. Duct tape fixes everything!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 8:59PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Oh man, I was going to suggest duct tape but Scott beat me to it.

Sharon, your forecast may have worsened. Mine dropped today from 34 to 32. so I'm expecting 28. : ) I know my weather better than they do, so everything is covered up.

Even without duct tape, I think they would be okay but why take that chance?

Maybe after next week's cold spell, we can relax and stopt fretting and worrying about our gardens so much. I am so tired of going through this every week.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 10:49PM
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The forecast just stinks......but it seems to change everyday. The forecasters do seem to be closer to each other than they were a few days ago and all seem to put Grove or Jay no lower than 35. It is still low enough that I will try to cover what I can.

We made extra hoops today and I have them set up over my potato rows. I got one covered with row cover today, and will cut new row cover tomorrow to cover the others, and the salad bed. It's not heavy stuff, but would probably prevent damage from the expected 35. I may not get frost anyway since our forecast also has rain from tonight through Friday.

I only have 10 tomato plants in the ground and each is covered with a 5 gallon water jug with the bottom removed. I haven't caged them because I knew I would have to cover them again. Although we are only going to 46 tonight, I covered them so the rain didn't beat them down. Tomorrow I will put sheets over the rows of bottles in preparation for the colder temps of Thursday and Friday nights. I replaced the row cover in the onion raised bed today and picked the asparagus. I have a tarp that will almost cover those 2 beds.

It looks like the hardest part may be keeping the coverings in place with the wind that is expected.

It is almost 10 PM and still 73 degrees here. My transplants have been outside for 3 days and 2 nights and now I have to go put them inside again. They will have to go back under lights for a few days, but they will be in an unheated area, so maybe they won't get too spoiled.

At least I can protect my plants from most things. I'm glad I'm not a wheat farmer.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 11:00PM
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It got to about 44 here last night and i didnt cover anything,bit temps are falling.

I just spent the past hour covering my patio container tomatos, moving all my annual pots into the garage, covering some annuals i put into the ground a few weeks ago, and covering all my patio furniture. Basically i just reversed everything i did a few weeks ago thinking summer was here....

All of my flags are in full bloom, both peonies are about 3 feet tall and full of nickle sized bids, my phlox is in full bloom, all of my daylillies are putting off buds, and my hostas are huge. Oh, and my azaelas are half bloomed, half trying to open..... So, i guess i will see how all that stuff that cant be covered fares. They are calling for 33 in Tulsa, so i know i will get to 30 or 31 here.

The rain is supposed to be here shortly. I cleaned my fireplace out and closed it up for summer last week, but the flue might be getting opened back up tonight, i dont want to turn the heat back on.

One thing i wont change, i will be leaving my AC on in the back of the house set to 65. Ive reached that "certain age" where i am so hot all night long that the AC stays on back there almost year around!!!!

I wish everyone luck with this weather and hope no one loses anything.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 9:59AM
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Well....I fretted over them enough that I got out the row cover and made long tunnels through their cages anyway!! It's a sight, with bricks and logs all along the way to keep the edges down and tight, but at least the wind didn't blow it all away last night and I know they're doubly cozy under there.
If only I'd thought about duct tape! (Actually, I don't even have any)...

Thanks, friends,

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 10:21AM
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I just put a 24 foot piece of medium weight row cover over hoops to cover a potato row. We only have an 8 mph wind and it was still hard to do. I have another long one and a short one to finish, and if I don't finish it soon, I may 'set sail'. Wave if you see me flying over.

Today is my birthday and I can remember when it was in the summer. LOL I have seen snow flurries on my birthday, but I lived in Alaska at the time.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 10:26AM
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Hope you have a wonderful birthday. even tho it is cool and windy.

I thought I might take flight last night too when I was trying to refasten my tarp over my tomatoe area. It was probably quite the show for the neighbors.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 10:44AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Carol, I wish we were going to get a good rain. We have a "chance" of rain, but the last few times that rain has fallen over many aeas, we have had only a tenth of an inch or only a few hundreds of an inch of rain. The ground is cracking, the pond remains water-free and I'm watering as if it were June already.

Tim and I got most everything covered up in yesterday's pleasant conditions, but I haven't covered up the corn in the corn cage and don't even know if I will. I might have enough row cover to do it, but I doubt it. I have three separate varieities in there...an early, a mid and a late. Maybe I can get at least one of them covered. This morning we halfway covered up the last potato bed, and I have to throw blankets over the lettuce in the cattle trough before dark. Otherwise, I've covered all I can. We had planted maybe 25-30% of the new fenced garden area out back so I had to divert some row cover there, leaving the corn cage as the loser. I might throw bedsheets over it. The corn has only been up a couple of weeks and is only about 6" tall, so losing it wouldn't be the end of the world since it has barely gotten started. It would be more traumatic to me to lose potatoes or tomatoes simply because the tomatoes already have fruit on at least some of them and the potatoes are blooming so they are pretty far along already.

It took the cold forever to get to us too. It was sill in the upper 60s shortly before midnight. It is a lot less pleasant out there now than it was yesterday.

Happy, Happy Birthday!!! Isn't it neat how your spring birthday occurred in summer in 2011 and 2012 and now it is happening in winter. You have a magical birthday that can jump from season to season.

I feel a great deal of sympathy for the wheat farmers too. Some of them had the insurance adjusters out in their fields about 3 freezes back calculating what percentage of the crop was ruined already. I assume that with all the crazy weather that has occurred since then, a lot more damage has occurred.

Emma, I think we must be having a whole year of seasons every week. This week we had summer on Sunday and Monday, cooler autumn temperatures arrived on Tuesday or Wednesday and then on Thursday winter rolled back in. We'll have winter tonight and Friday, and then spring returns on Saturday. We'll roll through spring over the weekend into summer next week.....and then we will see if autumn and winter return next week as well. This is the craziest spring weather I can remember.

Sharon, I have left the grass and weeds tall just outside my garden fence so that people driving by cannot see the odd assortment of protective weather devices deployed all over the garden. With all the junk out there, they might think I am having a yard sale or something.

One of my friends always notices when I cover up the garden because the white row cover over the hoops that cover some of the beds stands up just tall enough to be visible from the roadway. You cannot see his garden from the road, but I know he has been covering his up on the same nights the rest of us have been covering up ours.

Oodles of people here in Love County who hadn't put tomatoes in the ground until very recently....like maybe last week or even just this past weekend....now have 5-gallon buckets, molasses feed tubs, black nursey pots, sheets, blankets, etc. strewn about their gardens. In this case, even by waiting another week or two to plant they didn't miss out on all the fun of covering up plants on cold nights.

Carol, One good thing about covering things up yesterday was we missed the wind. I've been putting off going out there and covering up the little bit that's left because of the wind. I'm going to have to put on a coat and go out and do it soon though. I'll tell you what's really flying today: the hummingbirds. We have 5 hummingbird feeders hung around the house and the poor little hummers are traveling from one to another over and over and over again just eating, eating, eating, in an effort to stay warm. I usually leave the sunporch open for them on cold nights and some of them will go in there and perch on a plant or a ceiling beam or window frame on cold nights. It is warmer than the front porch which is their other favorite place to spend a cold night.

Kim, This morning I went out and checked everything to see what the wind was blowing around. I found three spots that needed to be refastened. I'll check again before it gets dark. That's kind of one good thing about the strong wind blowing all day today. If something is not secured well enough, I'd rather find out now in time to fix that issue rather than find out tomorrow when I discover frozen or frost-damaged plants that had lost their covering during the night.

The last time I looked, they has raised our overnight low from 32 to 33. Last week when they said we would be around 34 we went down to 28. So, I expect 33 is a nice guess but we'll likely be colder.

The frustrating thing is that we could go through this all again next weekend. I hope the early model runs are wrong, but then they've been right about the persistent cold fronts for weeks now so you have to believe they may be right about the next cold front too.

I haven't caged the tomato plants yet either because they are easier to cover when they aren't caged, but they are getting big enough that if I don't get cages over them soon, it will be impossibly hard to cage them.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 3:35PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I have dog bed sheets and old clothing and towels on top of my wall of water covers over tomatoes. I have a million old t shirts that I wear around here and they get stained too ugly to donate so I cut them for rags. They work but look very bad.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 5:05PM
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Thanks for the birthday wishes. Friends took us to lunch and I am stuffed.

Al was at the courthouse this morning, but met us for lunch and then we came home and finished covering the garden and fed the chickens, and plan to 'stay put' for a day or two.

I had to add about 65 more feet of row cover this week just to snug things in a bit. Although I bought it to use, it is sure easier to store clean and unused on the roll than it is dirty and used......and to be cutting it for cold protection in May is just insane.

Dawn, mine doesn't look like a garage sale, more like a trash dump. I have five large beds covered with row cover which is fine, but in addition, I have sheets, cardboard, and tarps. If we get cold again next week I may just build a poly covered low tunnel so I can get more tomato plants in the ground. I could leave them a couple of weeks before I had to cage them. Gardening is getting much harder.

We have had over 15 inches of rain this year, so the moisture isn't that important to us except that it may help with the frost situation. So far today we have only had light mist but it looks like it could last a couple more hours. Oops, it seems I spoke too soon because it just increased.

I had planted two types of beans and they didn't come up before it turned cold, so they may not germinate. I'm ready for this to end so I can get the warm season crops in the ground. Guess I better just worry about saving the things I already have in the ground.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 5:36PM
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