Frost monday night

david52 Zone 6September 19, 2009

And thats all she wrote for this year. So time to pick everything that I can, bring it indoors, and then start the clean up. I'll leave a few hundred leeks and green onions out, and see what they do over the fall and winter.

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rt_peasant(5 CO)

Where do you get your frost warnings? I've been searching on-line, and haven't found anything.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2009 at 1:00PM
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kareng_grow

Hmmmm...I agree, rt_peasant. I have looked as well. I know it's supposed to be in the 50's Monday and the 30's Monday night but can't we just cover the veggies with our floating row covers and be fine? I heard cold but not frost...

    Bookmark   September 19, 2009 at 2:01PM
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irisgirl(Z5 - CO)

Channel 7 and 9 both said 38 degrees Monday nite, WeatherBug says "Lows in the upper 30s". Remember this is for the Colorado/Denver Front Range area - not necessarily where you live! 38 degrees is cool, but NOT frost NOT Killer! and even your 'maters and peppers will be ok. Put a bed sheet over them if you want.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2009 at 4:36PM
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rt_peasant(5 CO)

I did see that Monday night was supposed to get down to 37 degrees in my area, and I know that you can get frost when the air temp is above 32 degrees if the skies are clear, due to radiated heat loss. I thought that weather.com would have frost advisories, but if they do, I couldn't find them.

As far as the end of the season goes, I successfully used blue tarps over my tomatoes and peppers last year, to keep them alive an extra 2 weeks after the first frost. The tarps don't need to be sealed to the ground, they just need to get in between the plants and the night sky to prevent frost from forming!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2009 at 4:51PM
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david52 Zone 6

The link below is the NOAA site for my general neighbor hood. You can type in your local town and zip, and get the NOAA for that area. They'll have a freeze warning in bold, red letters. Thats not up now, but I think thats more a function of our sparse population and lack of orchards - they get much more precise up around Palisade.

More fun is the google map thingie down on the right hand side of the web page, with the red square. You can move this around to get to your specific house, or close to it, and the temperatures on the chart across the top change with the altitude. Its a real kick to do this for the high mountains.

We're forecast for 34º, and generally, we're 5º cooler than their forecast. Again, this part of Colorado isn't all that high on the priority list for NOAA, so I cut 'em some slack....:)

Here is a link that might be useful: noaa link

    Bookmark   September 19, 2009 at 9:09PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Aaaaaack!!! I didn't pay too much attention to this thread at first, because I saw Jennifer's and thought it was one of those weather events affecting the other side of the state ... then I realized it was you posting David! Sure enough, our predicted low for Monday night is 35º. It can't be that time already!!! Last year, our first frost was October 12. I have a ton of herbs and veggies that need harvesting, and I need more time!

Okay, I know the tomatoes and peppers have to be picked or they will be toast. I'm assuming the things like cukes, squash and beans need to be harvested too, right? Basil can get potted up, and brought in the garage, and the lettuce, parsnips and carrots will be fine with some light frosts. Hmmmm ... seems like I'm forgetting something?

Bonnie

    Bookmark   September 20, 2009 at 2:02AM
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colokid(5)

Got 4, 6 inch high tomatoes growing in containers in my window. Don't think it will bother them.
I'm trying for fresh tomatoes for Christmas.
KennyP

    Bookmark   September 20, 2009 at 9:35AM
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david52 Zone 6

Bonnie, I like to think of it as an opportunity to be selective with what I want to do over the next two weeks - some stuff will be rescued, processed, and canned ..... and some won't.

Fall is the best season to be out and about, and 'tis the time of year where canning starts to seem, well, 'overrated' as a sunny afternoon activity.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2009 at 10:08AM
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digit(ID/WA)

Yep, frost up here on the WA/ID border in outlying areas by tomorrow morning! I thought the entire countryside was an "outlying area" but tried your "google thingie," David, and got a 38°F for 2 of the gardens.

I'm a little concerned but since it is a regular watering day - I'll be out at 5am running the sprinklers in one garden (dahlias - oh boy!). The trick will to be in 2 places at 1 time but that's the story of my life. I can get the water on 1 place and drive over and "feel the dew" at the other . . . so as to turn on water there if necessary . . .

Best I can do but it should be sufficient. Wonder of wonders: Wednesday's high is forecast to be 89°F!

Steve

    Bookmark   September 20, 2009 at 11:22AM
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david52 Zone 6

I was picking tomatoes and peppers today, and the tomatoes are mostly diseased and not really worth messing with, something hit them all these last few days. Except for the Thessoloniki (sp) I have three plants falling over themselves, and I picked the better part of a bushel box off of them, and still left half.

Tomorrow I pick all the tomatillos, egg plant, and basil. I grew some ornamental sorghum, and the frost is just hitting this perfectly - the seed heads are all developing wonderful shades of color.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2009 at 9:21PM
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david52 Zone 6

Well, they now have a freeze warning up. Which means 25-26º and I have to get that whole big bed of French chard in, too.

I am feeling very ant-ish, and I want to feel more grasshopper-ish.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2009 at 9:56PM
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singcharlene(Zone 5)

Hmmm...thanks for the info.

No freeze warning for Castle Rock so far but supposed to get 36* tomorrow night & 37* most nights thereafter.

If I opt to cover the tomatoes (I have 100's of healthy very green) instead because it's supposed to warm up to the 70's after this week is there any benefit to that? Will that give them a chance to ripen a bit or not? Or should I just pick em all tomorrow?

I also have a whole bed of brussels sprouts that aren't ready for picking yet. I'll throw a row cover over them.

I have friends coming over tomorrow to help with harvesting. I have so many grapes this year so just trying to decide what to have them work on--grapes or tomatoes. Grapes can take frost though and actually seem to get sweeter.

Decisions, decisions ;)

Charlene

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 12:42AM
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david52 Zone 6

Well, yuk. Now we have 27º forecast, which is a hard freeze, 22º for me. That means setting the irrigation pipes so they spray a bit and don't freeze and crack and all that stuff.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 9:34AM
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gjcore(zone 5 Aurora Co)

Monday morning here in south Aurora it's pretty cold around 38 F and for a short while there was some snow mixed in with the rain :-(

It looks like it's going to be 36-38 F tonight. I guess I'll cover up a few things in the evening

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 1:00PM
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kareng_grow

How long can I keep my plants covered? I threw tarps and row covers over my beds this morning as the snow was coming down and it doesn't look like it will really warm up much until Wednesday. Can I leave them covered that long? I don't think I can manage taking all those tarps off during the day tomorrow only to have to cover everything back up tomorrow night...

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 7:48PM
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greenbean08_gw(PNW)

kareng,
I don't think it will hurt anything to leave the plants covered until Wednesday.

This morning, we had thunder, snow & wind and 34 degree temp. I think the temp came up a little but not much. I've covered pretty much everything. I hope it makes it!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 9:37PM
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kareng_grow

May we all have good luck getting through this weather hiccup! I'm looking forward to hearing from everyone on Wednesday how the crops faired through this... Good Luck everyone...

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 9:46PM
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digit(ID/WA)

Ya shoulda seen me this morning! I was a "blur" of motion, I tell ya!

I could see that things had turned south (why do we use that phrase?) when I got up at 3am and looked at the TVweather. Already below predicted overnight low! I left for the distant garden before 4.

Frost was covering the grass and my favorite dahlia-viewing lawn chair!! I turned on all sprinklers in sequence for 10 minutes each and then left on the ones in the most exposed part of the garden and raced back 8 miles to the large veggie garden. I could see frost covering roofs in the pre-dawn light. Oh, my tomatoes! My peppers!

Only a light frost there - turned on the big 4-inch field rainbirds and stood beside the valve for 10 minutes as they washed the ice off the veggies and as the sun rose. Raced back to the dahlias . . .

All was saved except some blackened basil. The remainder had been harvested in the dark and stuffed in a bag. Not even a burned dahlia petal . . . Harvested buckets of peppers later in the day (& plenty of tomatoes :o).

Boy, the day went fast after all that early morning adrenalin.

Steve's digits

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 9:57PM
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digit(ID/WA)

Yes, good luck CO gardeners!

Karen, I have kept tender perennials covered with a quilt for DAYS in an unheated greenhouse during the winter.

Steve

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 10:16PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Well, I chose to pick everything instead of covering, and it only dropped to 34º, so I guess everything would have been okay. So now I have a bushel box full of green tomatoes, and more than a 5 gallon bucket full of green peppers. I pulled all of the basil, and managed to get one batch of lemon basil pesto made, but there is still a ton left, which needs to go in the dehydrator today. There's also a handful of small zucchini from the community garden, and maybe a quart of beans. There was enough ripe tomatoes to make 10 pints of pasta sauce last night.

I'm exhausted! It was 2:30 am before I was finished in the kitchen, and then one of the kids was up several times last night with a virus, which means breathing treatments every few hours.

At least the bulk of the work is done now, and I can focus on being Dr. Mom.

Bonnie

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 10:22AM
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jeremywildcat

Being a complete garden rookie, this little cold snap took me by surprise. If I'm in Denver do I need to be covering my tomato plants at night now? I see a low of 35 tonight and tomorrow night predicted. I have a clear plastic tarp I could use, or a big old comforter, which would be better? Also, what happens to the tomatoes if they do get frost?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 10:42AM
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gjcore(zone 5 Aurora Co)

If tomatoes get frosted they are usually ruined.

I think we'll make it through tonight ok even though the denver post says we might have an inch of snow.

The comforter would probably be better. I usually use old sheets that I bought from a thrift store.

If we make it through the next day or two we'll probably have another 2-3 weeks of good weather.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 11:54AM
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bekajoi

I don't have anything in ground yet but I'm working the ground for next year. How long do you think I'll have to work out there before the ground is useless to mess with? :-S

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 2:21PM
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david52 Zone 6

Jeramywildcat, if it were me, I'd pick the best looking tomatoes, peppers, and other stuff now, and throw the comforter over the plants. For some reason, and this may be an old wives tale, but I've heard that plastic doesn't work nearly as well.

gjcore, the tomato plants will take it on the chin with even the lightest frost, but to damage the fruit, it takes either much colder temps, or a considerable length of time right at the frost. Usually, by the afternoon of the next day, the fruit that was frozen will show darker blotches and spots - that stuff is toast. But usually, a lot of fruit, closer to the ground and covered with leaves, is still good. I pick them green and take them inside.

bekajoi, unless we get rain all fall, which happens but its rare, you should have until mid-December to work the soil - plenty of time to collect all the leaves and grass clippings and stuff. Now that the frost put paid to most of the garden, I'll take a few days off and then start cleaning everything up and do what soil prep I can for next year, using the old plants as organic matter.

I went out today, and I didn't miss much in the weekend picking frenzy, except a few dozen small pimento peppers. Oh well.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 7:19PM
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singcharlene(Zone 5)

So some of you know that we've taken on two foster babies and have had them for seven months. So I'm lucky to have gotten a garden in this year at all.

We were gone all weekend and didn't have time to frenzy harvest. So today I was able to thoroughly survey the damage. All the squash, basil, cucumber, pumpkin plants are black and shriveled. The fruit was still fine so I picked that.

The tomatoes are up against one side of the veggie garden that now sits up against the new chicken coop and fenced outdoor run that is protected with shade cloth (12 week old chickens in the coop). We have a heat lamp in the coop that stays on at night and I guess it protected all the tomato and pepper plants on that side of the garden because they weren't phased by the frost at all ! :)

So I picked all the ripe and nearly ripe maters and peppers and threw frost blankets on the hundreds of green tomatoes still on the plants. We'll see how they fare as we're supposed to get up to five inches tonight and two to five inches tomorrow.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 1:02AM
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greenbean08_gw(PNW)

David, it's not a wives tale. The comforter will keep the plants much warmer than the plastic. Last fall, I put a remote thermometer in the bed under the covers. When I just used plastic it only stayed a couple degrees warmer under cover than on the back porch (which may well be warmer than the actual air temp since the thermometer is attached to the house). When I added an old wool blanket I got better results and when I added an old comforter I get the best. I did combine the blankets and plastic though (blankets underneath so they stayed drier). I don't remember the actual numbers - if I searched out some old posts I could probably find them but that's all I've got right now.

bekajoi, I agree with David, you've likely got quite a bit of time to work outside but it of course depends on the weather. Tonight we're supposed to get snow but Sunday is supposed to be 78 degrees??

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 1:08AM
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austinnhanasmom(5 CO)

So a friend was panicking about the weather and it became slightly contagious...I have saved OP seed from all of my tomatoes but one.

I did struggle with what to do, as this should be a great seed for swapping, Ramapo F6 for tomato freaks, and did NOTHING!! Now I see someone is still smiling on my tomato patch and the next time frost threatens, I'll be outside with an old comforter - LOL - I need to heed advice from anyone that'll conduct an temp experiment on fending off winter;-)

Thanks ya'll -

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 8:58AM
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kareng_grow

Very interesting regarding blankets v. plastic. It would also be interesting to measure the relative temperatures under a floating row cover as well. I think I'll start going to Goodwill to find old blankets to use as covers under the tarps.
According to the weather, it sounds like I need to keep the tarps on now until Friday. I may need to figure out how to wiggle under some of them to water tomorrow though. If all else fails, at least I have some happy plants in the greenhouse to keep me happy a bit longer...

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 9:13AM
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jeremywildcat

Well it was raining a bit last night so I ended up using the tarp so the comforter didn't get wet, though it sounds like I probably should have used both. Not sure what it got down to in Denver. I'm leaving everything on the plants and trying to make it through since it isn't supposed to get down to freezing, and it's supposed to be back in the 60s and 70s after Friday. We'll see if I regret that when I pick some more tomatoes.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 10:43AM
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bekajoi

Thanks guys! Just didn't know if I needed to be out there being crazy about pulling those weeds and sorting out the rocks (some crazy person who owned this house before us thought gravel on 1/3 of the lawn would be a good idea!!)~

Good to know I have some time. I'm not afraid of the cold, just didn't know if I needed to rush!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 1:03PM
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digit(ID/WA)

Just wanting to send CO some warmth:

After that early Monday morning frenzy to save the gardens from frost -- it was 93°F at the little weather station nearest my tomato patch at 3:22 this afternoon!

This sort of thing is much more common in the higher elevations of CO than up north. So, think positive and cover up your plants!

Steve

Fairy tales can come true
It can happen to you
If you're young at heart

. . .

And if you should survive to 105
Look at all you'll derive
Out of being alive

And here is the best part
You've had a head start
If you are among the very
Young at heart.

Richards % Leigh

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 9:48PM
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gjcore(zone 5 Aurora Co)

david52, in regards to tomato plants being ruined I was referring to the plant. Of course you can still salvage some/most of the fruit. But once a plant has received some frost bite, in my experience, the plant is toast.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 1:12AM
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greenbean08_gw(PNW)

Here's a bit more info on the covered beds temps from last fall:

"We just used plastic for a couple days and watched the temps in the beds. The blankets make a huge difference! With just the plastic, it was only a degree or so above outside, and the difference between the 2 got smaller every hour. With the blankets, it's a much bigger difference. Right now, it's 29.3 on the back porch (that thermometer was reading a little warmer than the ones in the garden the other day - so lilacsofmay, I think you're right about the house throwing off heat). It's 38.5 where my peppers are (I have 3). I don't have a thermometer for the rest of the bed. I guess I'll see when the bean plants freeze. It's 39.6 in the other bed (with the little heater). I think the heater must have kicked on, since that one has been reading a little cooler than the pepper for days."

I hung the thermometer about mid-way between the ground and the cover, I'd guess about 18" above ground.

The covers kept the garden from freezing until one night when it his 18 early at night.

I added a link to the thread if you'd like to read the rest of the conversation...

Here is a link that might be useful: Season Extending Thread from last year

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 2:16AM
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kareng_grow

Thank you for the link! Very interesting! I am definitely going to start looking for old blankets at the thrift stores now...I really want to uncover the plants today but I think I'll be safe and wait till tomorrow. I live in Black Forest and the elevation is just enough higher for temperatures to be a problem as opposed to other areas...

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 9:05AM
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greenbean08_gw(PNW)

kareng, you're just up the road a bit from me - I'm in Falcon- just off Meridian Rd. Unless it warms up quite a bit today, I probably won't uncover mine until tomorrow either.

Of course, as I type this, the sun is starting to peek out, so maybe I WILL be uncovering today...

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 11:57AM
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kareng_grow

Well, it's Friday morning and I finally got up enough courage to unwrap the garden bed tamales...I'm pleasantly surprised at how well everything did. How did your plants do, Green bean out there off of Meridian?

Not surprisingly, some of my tomato plants which were touching the tarps have turned black and shrively so I'll trim that up this afternoon. On the other hand, some of the tomatoes have ripened while under the tarp.

The ornamental squash under the tarp did real well and the vines must all have grown another foot since the cold snap. The summer squash under the floating row did fine except for the little bit which popped out from under the cover. I'll trim that out this afternoon too. Strawberries and raspberries are fine and the herbs and spinach under the floating row cover are fine. All in all, I think I saved about 95% of my crops by covering them.

Let's hope we don't get another cold snap like that until everything has ripened. Most of all, thanks to all of you for warnings and advice as well as support to get me through the week. I'm not sure I would have been as confident that what I was doing was the right thing without this forum.

Karen

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 10:53AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Karen, glad to hear how well your garden faired!

Even though I harvested most everything on Monday, I hadn't even been out to the garden to see how the plants had done, as one of my sons ended up in the hospital for a couple of days. He's home and much better now, so I took a look around, and even though the official low for Monday was 34º, the cucumber plants were pretty much toast, and there were a couple of basil plants that I missed, that had some frost damage, but the tomato and pepper plants looked fine. I guess I could have pulled out the row cover, but I wasn't sure it was big enough to cover everything, since the tomato plants are over 6' tall. Maybe I'll go that route next year ...

Anyway, I've sliced and froze about 80% of the peppers, which made about 2 gallons worth. I was thinking about pickling the mild jalapenos that are left. Anyone else pickle peppers? If so, I'd love to have the recipe. Or is there something else I can do with them, other than freeze them?

The last of the basil is in the dehydrator right now, which should be enough to last 2 or 3 months anyway. Plus, there's probably 3 pints worth of pesto in little 1/2 cup portions in the freezer. But I sure am going to miss my fresh tomato, basil, and mozzarella sandwiches though : (

Bonnie

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 1:39PM
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greenbean08_gw(PNW)

I uncovered everything today and didn't have much damage, just a little here & there where part of a plant wasn't well covered or was touching some plastic. I have a zucchini or 2 that don't look so healthy but they weren't doing much to start with. My peppers are fine and I'll need to pick beans tomorrow.

I had a few squares of beans that I planted after I harvested my garlic (and I had just a few seeds left in the pack) that just got a piece of row cover plunked over them. The plants are in pretty good shape but there seem to be more frozen leaves on those than others. I wasn't sure how some things would fare since I wasn't ready with a plan for what I am covering and how (and we were out of town until Sunday evening) so there were some gaps in the coverage. I must have had enough over the top to compensate for the open spots on the sides and didn't have much loss. I know it got cold b/c the other day I found a chunk of ice on top of the plastic covering my black cherry tomato.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 2:42AM
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digit(ID/WA)

'Bean, this prompts a praise of . . . beans!

No, they cannot take a frost - you obviously did an adequate job in covering them. However, I am surprised how every year, after the weather turns cold, the greenbeans continue to produce.

I've gone out after a week of wind, clouds and rain and picked beans. It doesn't seem to take much warmth for the plants to mature a crop. It may not be the most pleasant activity in the cold & wet but weekly harvests are still required despite a miserable week.

Of course, they are the quintessential 2nd crop and seed can be sown in the hottest weeks of summer.

Except for that one morning of frost, it certainly hasn't been cold and wet here (dry and near record heat). My beans were prepared for either/or and I've got more beans to harvest tomorrow. I like beans.

Steve

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 11:03PM
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greenbean08_gw(PNW)

Steve, I picked beans today from my later plantings. 2/3 of the green bush have finished and the yellows are fading. My pole beans didn't do well this year so I'm happy to have any to put in the freezer for winter. I've got just a short time left for the garden and then it will probably freeze while I'm out of town in October.

Beans are probably the reason I ever started a garden in the first place. My mom always grew them and they were one of the few veggies I would ALWAYS eat. I missed having good garden beans.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 12:46AM
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