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Dipped down to 38 last night

Posted by ania_ca 9 (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 8, 11 at 11:25

And my plants were all uncovered. I live in Southern CA! It's not supposed to get cold in April! Darn it! I had no idea it would get anywhere near that cold last night.

What should I expect? My tomatoes were uncovered, as were peppers and squash.

It looks like it will be 35 degrees tonight so I will definately cover everything.

Ania


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Dipped down to 38 last night

I think they will be ok. I've had this happen to me before. I think tomatoes are ok as long as it doesn't actually freeze.

Peppers and squash are a little more sensitive and might need a little extra TLC to recover from this.

One thing that helps is to water them very well if you know cold weather is coming. I know it's counterintuitive because we feel cold if we're wet, but water works as a temperatue buffer for plants.


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RE: Dipped down to 38 last night

Any plants that weren't already planted in my garden I brought inside last night, and it dropped to 46 degrees. Tonight is supposed to be even colder, 40 degrees here in OC, so I will bring them in again tonight. But hopefully this will be the last real cold days here in California this spring as the cold front moves through. We only got about one hundredth of an inch of rain, so the weatherman was wrong about the rain but right about the cold temperatures. The plants I already planted didn't suffer any damage last night.


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RE: Dipped down to 38 last night

I agree with neohippie - mine were outside too and everybody looks perky this morning. I will probaly cover with a large black trash bag tonight. The ones I could move were under the patio last night, and my most recent seedlings, which are about 6-8 weeks spent the night inside with me! Linda


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RE: Dipped down to 38 last night

Thanks. Luckily, I did water last night so hopefully that helped to buffer them. I don't think I ever remember temps dipping so low in April.

Usually I get a late start and plant in April and everyone asks me why I planted so late for my zone :)

I live near the big thermometer in Santa Clarita that they always show on the news, I saw them temp at 38 when I was leaving for work this morning and said to myself "sonofa***** my tomatoes!" They already got stressed and icky looking during the last rains and were just recovering.

I guess I just hope for the best or it's a trip to the nursery for me.

Ania


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RE: Dipped down to 38 last night

Eeek! I'm out in Chatsworth, and my hubby just let me know it's raining and hailing over there. I was planning on planting all my chiles and eggplants squash and cukes this weekend, now I'm wondering if I should hold off. I guess i'll try covering my tomatoes with trash bags tonight.


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RE: Dipped down to 38 last night

Rain coupled with low temps is actually the best scenario. You need to be concerned on clear, calm nights when temps get that low because then frost injury is likely.

I learned to never rely fully on the weatherman. Those guys are just about as dependable as the weather they forecast.


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RE: Dipped down to 38 last night


I live near the big thermometer in Santa Clarita that they always show on the news, I saw them temp at 38 when I was leaving for work this morning

According to TWC the low was 45 in your area last night and it's calling for 37 tonight with a 30% chance of precip. I personally wouldn't worry a bit.


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RE: Dipped down to 38 last night

Holy cow, coming my way! What a strange spring!


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RE: Dipped down to 38 last night

your plants should be ok ,, it will just set them back a couple weeks of good growth


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RE: Dipped down to 38 last night

I definately see damage on some of the plants. They don't look happy but are still doing alright. I covered them and the peppers Fri and Sat night when it dipped under 40. It was 44 last night so I left them uncovered. It's supposed to be warming up now.


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RE: Dipped down to 38 last night

I wouldn't worry about it too much. Even though Tomatoes are a warm weather crop, cold temps don't bother them too much. Frosts, freezes, and sustained cold temps (possibly with rain) are really what you have to worry about.

If you hear about it getting into the low 40s, I'd cover them if possible, just because you never know if, in your micro-climate, the 40s you heard about on the news could turn into 30s or worse. If I hear about night-time temps in the mid to high 40s, I don't worry too much.


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RE: Dipped down to 38 last night

The standard for measuring temperature is 3 feet above the ground, or about belt height. Generally, there can be a variance of 6-7 degrees below the forecasted temp, due to the settling of colder air below the three foot measuring point. Usually, this is only an issue if the winds are calm to less than 5mph.

So basically, if they forecast anything 37F or lower, and the winds will be calm, you need to be ready to cover your plants.

Also important, is the topography of the place the National Weather Service measures temperature for your area, and the actual elevation of your garden. You should find out the elevation and compare the two locations. You also have to take into account nearby objects. A large cement driveway near your garden often will keep it as much as +5F degrees warmer. Having your garden in a lowest spot in your yard may lower the temp -5F.

A wireless temperature sensor ($10-20) and a couple growing seasons of comparison will easily tell you how much your garden varies from the forecasted low.


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40 and below

Also want to add...
Around here during growing season we average about 10-15 days with temps below 40F degrees. I'm sure the tomatoes don't like it, but all it does is slow them down a little.

I've seen recommendations that tomatoes shouldn't be planted until nighttime temps remain above 50F. Well, that would mean that most of the northern states, and Canada wouldn't be able to grow tomatoes, which is absolutely false. I cannot accurately count the number of nights during July and August when the temps are below 50F but it is more often than not.


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RE: Dipped down to 38 last night

You said you're seeing damage now... what kind of damage? I had an issue with mine last week where the temp dipped into the upper 30s, and few days later I started seeing yellow/tan spots on some (but not all) of my tomatoes, and now the leaves feel dry and are curling up. As a first time gardener I'm curious as to whether this is cold damage.


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RE: Dipped down to 38 last night

Same thing. the leaves got spots on them and now the affected leaves are drying up and falling off. But at the same time, the new leaves look good so I think they are recovering.


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RE: Dipped down to 38 last night

Leaves that have been frost damaged generally look a color much darker than the normal green. On tomatoes, they often look dark charcoal green/gray, get crispy and break right off. Other plants like a squash will show dark green/black mushy leaves that droop very lifelessly. Eventually, given a few days, they will dry to a hard crispy, crumbly dead leaf.


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