protect plants or let them freeze?

helenh(z6 SW MO)October 10, 2013

Next week we may have a frost. Are you going to protect some plants or call it a season? I may pick tomatoes before the cold comes; not too many green ones because they really don't taste as good. I was sick of cucumbers but they died and now I wish I had a cucumber. I may lay some sheets over the melampodium and blue salvia. I have already brought in some sun coleus and torenia starts. If frost is a sure thing I may drag the big pot of sun coleus inside because that is so easy to keep through the winter.

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joeinmo 6b-7a

If you can get by the one frost, I can usually keep most everything deep into Nov.

Growing gets really slow, but hey a couple warm days in Nov. and you could have some late season garden grown veggies.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 10:39PM
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sunnyside1(z6/SW Mo.)

I'm going to bring in the big pots out on the patio -- and take cuttings of basil, coleus, and Ruella the Big. Curtis, the owner of Joplin Greenhouse, hates Mexican petunia and just has a few on hand for a little while in the spring. So I never take a chance on that, Ruella (the Big), being available to buy. When it really comes down to bringing them in or letting them freeze, I usually opt for saving their little lives, if I have a lot of work in them. The hisbiscus, gardenias, tropicals all come in. Potted hosta stay out.

I'm picking all the green tomatoes before frost, though, and I usually have some tomatoes left around Christmas. Same for green peppers, chard, and Brussels sprouts. Bringing the potted cannas in, but not depotting them this year. They go under the bench in the very cool part of the greenhouse, and the Tropicana canna seems to like being in the garage. Didn't grow but one smaller pot of caladiums this year, so they are going to go bye-bye outside.

My daughter took a large varigated weeping fig which I have grown over 5 years, so I don't have to wrestle that to shelter. The big pink camelia, which was my father's, is loaded with buds, so that gets rescued, for sure, because he would come back and haunt me. He brought it back as a cutting from a California trip in 1966.

Somehow I'm looking forward to snow. Isn't that crazy?? I guess looking at the Weather Channel's coverage of the Dakotas made me rather long for being snowed in for a bit. I think I must be tired. Yes, I know it's nuts. I'm definitely NOT a winter person. My husband used to call me "Swamp Angel" because summer heat was "bring it on."

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 11:11PM
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I have a few things to move into the garage. That way I can put them out on the driveway on good days. Mother Nature, being bipolar, gives us a big zap and then from 2 to 4 weeks of absolutely beautiful weather, so, like Joe said, if you can cover things and get past the initial freeze you can grow things awhile longer.

I'm just now getting fall beans and with what I can pick today will have enough for my first canner load of quarts. I sure wish I'd started them sooner but next year will be different. There won't be time to get seed from them, that's for sure, and I don't know how I would be able to cover them, since they're climbers.

Holy basil and greek columnar basil haven't made seed yet. Bummer. I guess I'll cover them.

The broccoli will probably be fine. I'll go ahead and let the tomato plants take it on the chin, I haven't been getting very much from them anyway. I'll pick all the peppers.

That's pretty much it.

A freeze won't be ALL bad, at least it'll kill off some bugs.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 7:24AM
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I was wondering if you in MO and AR got your first freeze yet. I got mine in NE OK a couple days ago. It was just during the wee hours and some things were just burned on the top but the basil plants and the sweet potatoes we hadn't dug yet got it. We dug them that morning and I think they'll be ok.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 7:49AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I had a frost this morning that got the tops of tender plants like annual red salvia and melampodium. The tops of the tomato plants look a darker green but they haven't wilted yet. Last Friday I pulled the larger green tomatoes after I heard the weatherman say the Joplin low would be 36. It happened to be cloudy and I didn't get a frost. You probably got the frost because your area cleared that night. It is too cold though at night so the tomatoes and peppers done for the year anyway. I bought lots of pinks and violas on sale and they can live through the winter. Even though my flowers in pots have not been killed by frost, I pulled some and brought some in the house. I am going to plant my violas in those spots. Petunias still look great.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 11:34AM
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I dragged all my tropicals and tender plants that I am keeping into my little greenhouse and the back porch, except for my big rosemary plant that usually spends the winter in the back corner of the greenhouse....but I forgot it this year. So it looks like I'll be hunting for a winter home for it. I'm not hauling all that stuff back out of the greenhouse just so I can put it in there. Maybe my daughter might keep it for me. Or maybe I can stash it at Ozark Nursery. In the meantime it can take a light frost with no problem.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 10:46AM
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sunnyside1(z6/SW Mo.)

I'll bet the "tree" Rosemary is beautiful, Sandy. Glad you're keeping it. I wasn't going to keep my old one, but it doesn't take any care at all outside, or inside for that matter. And it smells so good. I took basil and marjoram cuttings for that very reason.

After seeing the stories about Dakota ranchers losing so many head of cattle, I was sorry I made that remark about longing for snow/being snowbound. What a shame at that loss of life.

I have pots over the lettuces but know I'll lose them soon. Pulled the two big zuchinni squash plants and inspected them. Not an egg on the big leaves, nor did a borer get in. Covering again next year, for sure. And the zuchs were delicious, too.

I guess everything in its time, but I'm not looking forward to a hard winter.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 6:21PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Doug is forecasting some cold. My garden smells like frozen green stuff. It isn't a stink but not a pleasant smell to me. Cover your lettuce with your clear tubs. You should be able to keep your lettuce for a while. Mine planted in Aug got bitter and I planted more that is only 4 or 5 inches tall. I cut it with a scissors and had a salad last night. I still haven't made anything with the green tomatoes. Today I'm planting my fig that was in a pot. If it dies in winter it is OK because I don't want to put up with it in the house. I haven't taken very good care of it.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 7:22PM
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sunnyside1(z6/SW Mo.)

I just read your post, Helen. If your fig hasn't bitten the dust, so to speak, I'd love to have a cutting from it. Will trade you anything you want -- hope you rescued your plant, as I have been wanting a fig plant --

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 9:13PM
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