We had frost last night - how long before damage is visible?

kygirl99April 30, 2008

We had a patchy light frost last night and I didn't get my tomato, cukes and pepper plants covered for a bunch of reasons. We planted them a week ago. Darn it. I went out to survey the damage today, but everything looks fine except four of my eight hills of cukes are wilty looking and drooping.

How long until I can tell if the tomatoes and peppers were affected from the frost? Would it show up today?

There was a light frost over my garden, but not a heavy frost. Not sure if that makes a difference but I'm sure hoping it does.

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shelbyguy(z5 IL)

Light frost damage on otherwise healthy peppers will show in a day or two as goldish/beige on the top of the leaf. Slightly heavier than that looks like major fert burn/acid eating the leaf.

I've had some that I thought survived the night, only to die once they got warm. I call that "medium frost damage."

Heavy frost damage is when they're dead by sunrise...

I can't comment about the tomatoes because I haven't killed enough of them yet :) Getting there, though...

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 1:31PM
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By now you probaly know that the cukes are goners. Tomatoes are a little harder to tell, so you will need to watch them a couple of days. If they shrivel (spelling) down to the main stem they are beyond saving I think. They will not have any nodes to form new leaves from. If that is the case, you might want to shop for replacements. For future reference, if I hear that the temps are going to drop at night below 40, I never gamble. I cover them all, like last night here in the Piedmont of NC. First it was torrential rains and hail three days ago. then frost, but all 71 made it, though we have some battle scars. I still have blooms on the WOW guys anyway.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 8:41PM
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thanks for the info!

I know I should have covered them, but my husband was working late and by the time the evening news confirmed a possibility of frost, I couldn't get outside with my five-month-old son because it was too cold for him and I couldn't leave him alone in the house, of course, either. so...baby or tomatoes...easy choice. :)

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 9:29PM
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douglas14(z3/4 MN)

Good choice kygirl. Good luck with your tomatoes.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 9:51PM
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thanks, douglas!

I went outside today, 24 hours after the damage, to assess what looks damaged. Out of 35 tomato plants, only two are wilty looking, my Fourth of July and Mr. Stripey, and then my Pink Brandywine has yellowed leaves but I'm not sure if that's from the frost or if it wasn't doing well ahead of time. I didn't notice it yesterday, so I'm guessing the frost. One of my six Romas is looking questionable, too, but it might need to be watered.

Out of my 37 pepper plants and 2 tomatillo plants, everything looks completely green and healthy.

Meanwhile, five of my eight cucumber hills are goners and the other three might soon follow.

And one of my four basil plants is shriveled.

So far, the cukes bore the worst of the frost damage, no question. And after reading posts here about Mr. Stripey's production and the bad taste of Fourth of July tomatoes, perhaps I'm no worse off with those gone. But I do love pink Brandywine tomatoes, so I have to replace that one.

Thanks for all the advice. I'll keep you guys posted if more of them die, just so that my original thread becomes something of a reference in itself since I didn't see this topic addressed when I searched for it ahead of time.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 1:22PM
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