How cold is too cold

esox07 (4b)September 14, 2012

Forecast is for 38 early next week. Is that low enough that I should bring the plants into the garage for the night. I am hoping to get through this month without a frost and I am holding off on harvesting any peppers in hopes of one final big haul. I just don't want to have the plants die and wind up having to pick everything earlier than I hoped. I also don't want to be hauling 7 gallon pots in and out of the garage every other night. My garage isn't insulated but it is covered.


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Personally, 38 is the lowest I'd be comfortable leaving them out in. It won't damage the fruit in my experience. If you're in an area prone to getting lower temps than forecasted lows, I'd garage them overnight... unexpected frost is a bad thing!

If it was the beginning of the season you'd definitely slow the plant down after a night at 38.

Just my 2 cents.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 5:04PM
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esox07 (4b)

Thanks bill,
Kinda how I feel too. I will watch but if the forecast drops to lower than that, I will bring 'em in I guess.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 5:25PM
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And I worry about the conservatory when the temperature approaches 60ðF.

I am still growing, so I guess I have to keep the temperature above the mid-50s.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 6:34PM
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One more thing. I have read that finding out the dewpoint temperatur is important as well. Temperatures below 50ð can cause leaf drop according to and other posts around here.

Dewpoint is the relation of humidity to the air temperature.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 6:42PM
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As Bill noted, at this point in the season, you really aren't too worried about slowing them down. As long as it doesn't frost/freeze, you should be ok.

If you could cover them it would help protect them, but, that may be too much trouble depending on your layout / number of plants.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 7:02PM
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esox07 (4b)

Yes, for SGTPepper, you want to keep your temps above 50 if possible since your plants are still immature. Mine however are end of season and pretty full grown. I just trying to get the most out of my final harvest at this point.

Thanks for all the responses.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 8:12PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

I'd worry. 38 is the predicted temperature at the reporting station, which is often an airport. Your local temperature is highly dependent on your location and the contour of your land. Also the wind. 38 might mean frost for you, or it might mean 42.

Fortunately, all you have to do is flip a light cover over the plant(s), like a sheet. You want it to meet the ground, if possible. The ground at this point in the season is much warmer than the air when it frosts, and will keep your plants well within the safe range.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 10:24PM
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Hey man I know how it is here in zone 5b. We are not to far away from winter!

I have noticed my plants are just finishing, no real growth due to nights getting lower then 50, even if the day is 70-80 that cold night will cause the plant to not grow the following day.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 11:58AM
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esox07 (4b)

Yep, I am not looking for new growth or pod set any longer, just looking for the current peppers to ripen at this point. The cool weather we are having shouldn't slow that down, in fact, I am figuring that it will probably spur the plants into getting on with ripening up whatever is still on the branches. It is agonizingly slow to watch however. I just don't want the plants to die off before they have a chance to ripen up the existing fruit.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 12:44PM
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I am sure we will both have that frost hit unripened fruit, but that is what we get with the four seasons. :)

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 4:08PM
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We hit 39F overnight a few days ago, with my ripening plants completely exposed on our deck. They looked a little unhappy in the morning, but by noon had perked up and seemed to shrug it all off. I would think 38F would be the same, just be careful of surprises with lower temperatures.

Here tonight they are forecasting 32F with patchy frost, so I have moved the peppers to the storage area under the deck for the night, which I think is roughly the equivalent of covering them with a thick blanket. I need a bit more time... garage as night-refuge is the next step.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 2:47AM
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esox07 (4b)

Yah, they are talking 34 Tuesday night here. I guess I will have to bring them in after all.
I am hoping to get at least to the beginning of October if I can get them past this next week.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 3:25AM
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I've noticed that the past few nights the night time temperatures have dipped to around 45F (8C) and it has started to affect the plants. They're all outside on the patio in containers and come morning when I wake up they're all struggling badly. I've noticed the colour of the plants start to yellow a bit and a lot of leaves and flowers are falling off. I'm obviously at this point not expecting any more peppers to set but I'm hoping to have them last long enough to ripen the remaining pods. I may start bringing in a few plants per night into the shed but that's a lot of work and there isn't enough space for them all!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 12:19PM
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Yeah Bruce, we're predicting 49 down here as well on Tuesday.

Bad news is that the season is winding down. Good news is that its time to start planning for next year!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 4:14PM
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80 Degrees here today - but 34 predicted over the weekend. After that, back in the 50s at night again. There are plenty of peppers on the plants that could stand to grow and mature more. They are huge and covering would not be easy and they are in the ground.

Will the peppers be worse off if they frost than they would be if I picked them now? Did any of you guys get down to 34?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 3:17PM
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homefry319(5b NE)

@Edymnion planning for next year? what youre not already done with that

Id say 35 is two low for me, Ive already brought everything in that Im overwintering

its spouse to get 25 at the farm so I have to go harvet everything tonight

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 3:21PM
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esox07 (4b)

Yep, I did the same. Tonight 31 and mid twenties friday and saturday nights. I pulled all my potted plants and cut back three for overwintering. I guess I could call today my "OFFICIAL" end of season.

BUT:::: For another buffalo: if you will just have a night down in the lower 30's, try to cover or bring your plants into the garage for the night as long as you are projected to have several more nice days yet this fall. My forecast calls for only one evening low to be above 36 in the next nine days so that is it for me.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 4:33PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Yeah, it's the end of the line here as well. Tomorrow night's low is supposed to be 34 degrees, 29 on Sat. night, and 32 on Sunday.

I have a few pots here at the house that could go in the garage, and could cover a few things here, but I don't have anything large enough to cover all of the plants down at the community garden, so the kids and I will be spending the day harvesting everything tomorrow. I'll try and post some pictures on my grow log thread once it's all done.

We're pretty much right on schedule. The first freeze is usually the first or second week in October, although we often get a light frost or two in September.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 9:40PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

I'd like to see a pic of your whole community garden plot, or at least the pepper section.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 10:06PM
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We were 28F last night, killed all the pepper plants in the open garden (I picked all the peppers off them the day before, in anticipation of the frost). Supposed to be the same tonight, then warmer for a few days at least. I want to stretch the season as much as possible for the Charleston Hot and Firecracker peppers, so after I picked all the ripe Charlestons I put the plants on this mobile platform, which is in the garage again tonight. I'm curious to see if the effort actually results in more ripe peppers, or is just a waste of time.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 1:55AM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

I've had mixed results moving fruited plants into storage. The Thai pepper plants kept at it for a while, then peremptorily died. The cayenne actually set fruit for a while, but eventually went dormant and is still with me. I think it rather depends on how you treat them.

I'd worry about the one on the right. It has quite a load and seems to me struggling to keep up with them as it is. Less light and you may have a revolt on your hands.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 3:18PM
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Supposed to get below 50 degrees this weekend.I figured 'why tempt fate ?' I brought my guys on inside !!

Here is a link that might be useful: check my band out !!!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 6:44PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

I wouldn't even start to worry until it is predicted to get below 40. rodne, where are you?

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:36PM
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yeah, 50 is a walk in the park! :-)

We're supposed to get to low 30's the next three nights, then back up to the 40's.

I've already brought in all the potted peppers that I'm keeping over the Winter, and covered the garden ones as good as I can and will hope for the best.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:43PM
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