cold weather and peppers

beechoMay 6, 2010

It has been unusually warm in New York State this spring so we went ahead and planted bell peppers, jalapenos and cayenne peppers. Now, this weekend isn't going to go about 55 degrees with a low in the mid 30s. It is going to be like that for 2 or 3 days and then warm up immediately to the mid to upper 70s. Should I bring the peppers inside or will they be ok? I do not want to bring them in unless I have to because I dont have a sunny spot inside for them. I could put them under a light in the basement but I've heard that will do stunt the plants.

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Dealing with a similar issue here in Brooklyn.

Looks like we're going to see mid to high 40's at night over the weekend (2-3 nights in a row), and wondering if I should bring my earth-boxes indoors or not. It's a pain in the butt as I have to get them through a window to get inside (weird roof deck), but if need be, I'll do what needs to be done.

Not sure if a few nights at 45-48 deg. F is going to really stunt their growth or not.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 10:29AM
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Is there some way you can cover them? I had a similar situation some years back and I just put an old bedsheet over them (was a garden of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cukes, etc.), first pushing in a few stakes to keep the sheet from being in direst contact with the plants. Then remove sheet when sun comes out or temp reaches 55, whichever is first.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 11:50AM
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met365784(z5 MI)

You can also build a cold frame or row cover for them. Think mini greenhouse. All you need is some clear plastic, some kind of posts (pvc frame is nice), and something to weigh down the edges. Then you'll be all set, if it gets too cold you can always put jugs of water by the covered plants, or a light near them to help keep them warm.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 12:02PM
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Thanks for the advice! I'll probably build that mini greenhouse with plastic and pvc. I have a few plants in one of those topsy turvy hot pepper planters too though, not sure what I will do with that...

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 1:14PM
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After a couple of nights in a makeshift greenhouse, they're doing ok and not soo ok. The Jalapeno (top left) and Jaloro (top right) are turning more and more pale, with the others looking a little wilted in the morning but better in the afternoon.

The lounge chairs are acting as a little windbreak in this photo so the plants can get some late afternoon light.

A little wind gets under the cover, on the side of those plants, so could that be the reason they're yellowing out a bit?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 11:20AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

At the beginning and the end of the season, I use old waterjugs to protect my plants.
I don't buy these jugs....I find them fallen off of trucks on the side of the road, or I ask
neighbors/folks for the jugs when I see they're throwing them away.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 3:24PM
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met365784(z5 MI)

Mrred is the soil really wet? To much moisture can cause yellowing. Also what are you using to cover them, and are you leaving them covered through out the day to help trap in the heat?

Clear plastic works well, one thing to keep in mind is temps can climb quickly under the plastic, you don't want it to get too hot. You also don't want there to be any places for the cold air to get in, this can cause the plants to suffer some damage from the cold.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 1:08PM
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The soil is damp, for sure, but not WET. It seems to be doing a tad better today, so it may just be unhappy from being transplanted? I dunno, but I figure wait and see without doing much is the best way for the next two days while its still really cold at night (in the mid to low 40's and windy).

While I can seal up the enclosure at night, the winds have been ferocious on the 5th floor deck where they are(constantly 20MPH gusting up to 50MPH) and have almost torn apart the makeshift greenhouse a few times already. Its noticeable warmer under the tarp in the morning than outside, helped out by my leaving the window its attached to open to the inside at night.

Here's a picture of the setup.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 2:15PM
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As long as there is no frost, they will survive. But to be on the safe side, cover them
in the late afternoon, after the sun is about to set. This way soil heat
will work like a heater and heat loss to the plants will be minimized.
Uncover them the following morning before sun comes up.
Anything over 42F, should not be a worry.
The lows visit only for a short time not all night long.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 6:38PM
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