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BRRRR, it’s Cold Outside!

May 18th, 2009

Just when you think you think the last of the cold weather is over, you get a freeze warning. Freeze warnings are different than frost warning. When we get a frost warning, I rarely cover things because of the location of our property. We’re surrounded by huge trees and we’re on top of the biggest hill in the area. We rarely get frosts up here at Chiot’s Run.
covered-plants-for-frost
Freeze warnings however are a different story. They had us scrambling last night to carry all of the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants into the garage for safe keeping. Fortunately I only have a few things in pots that can’t be carried in easily, so I covered those with big pots.
covered-pots-ready-for-frost
What really has me worried is our strawberry patch. They’re blooming so wonderfully and we have tons of little green strawberries forming. I would hate to lose my berries to a late spring freeze.
strawberries-under-row-cover
So they got the royal treatment, a big old blanket covers part of them and a heavy row cover is protecting the rest. If it gets as cold as they say it might (as low as 28) that might not even be enough to save them. I’m hoping our protected location up on the hill will help.
raised-beds-covered-with-frost-blankets
When we were driving home last night the ice indicator beeped in the car, it was down to 36 already at 11 pm.

Do frost and freeze warnings get you out scrambling to protect tender plants? What methods do you use to keep the cold away?

19 Comments to “BRRRR, it’s Cold Outside!”
  1. Mangochild on May 18, 2009 at 5:24 am

    I was so glad for my new cold-frame this past weekend – it was RAW!! I could hardly believe it is mid May, it felt more like mid November. Not right. I too was worried about the strawberries, they are doing so nicely so far. Can you put any blanket over the plants? How do you keep them off the plants? I saw you have a pot inverted over one of yours….

    Mangochild’s last blog post.. The Mystery Revealed: News in the LocalZone Garden

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    • Susy on May 18, 2009 at 9:54 am

      I use small bamboo poles to keep the covers off of the plants.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. ChristyACB on May 18, 2009 at 5:50 am

    I sure hope all your plants make it! Living on the river shore, with tall trees and using raised beds means I have fewer of those panics than I might otherwise. It’s still a risk, but if I don’t try to put things out too early, I’m usually okay!

    ChristyACB’s last blog post.. 2012: Doomsday – The Worst Doomer Movie Ever

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    • Susy on May 18, 2009 at 9:55 am

      I usually don’t have to worry either with our property and the raised beds, but when there’s a freeze warning, I don’t want to risk a big crops of berries. It is after our last frost date as well here.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. Faith on May 18, 2009 at 7:15 am

    Yes, not quite as cold here, got to 39 this morning. They call it a blackberry winter. I had to turn my heater on again! I’ve had it off for many weeks.

    We hauled home bags of grass clippings in the car for our compost pile and forgot to take them out. The car heated up in there to about 20 degrees warmer than it would have been.

    If you’ve got grass you’ve been bagging up, you might try putting those under your sheeting.

    ~Faith

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    • Susy on May 18, 2009 at 9:55 am

      That’s a great idea, I’ll keep that in mind for this fall!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. Sande on May 18, 2009 at 8:41 am

    The official word for us last night was 36 degrees. I agree, brrr! But no freeze. Good thing since I thought it was supposed to be a balmy 41 and did nothing for the plants outside. Today I’m going to start planting the tomato starts. They’re not looking so good…

    Sande’s last blog post.. Sunday Silence 9

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  5. farm mom on May 18, 2009 at 9:37 am

    It has been really chilly here lately. Sunny, but a very cold wind. We’re still getting night time temps in the high 20’s to low 30’s and lots of frost/freeze warnings. So, none of my plants have been put out yet and are still safe in the basement. But we use covers too, they’re great protection against frost.

    farm mom’s last blog post.. The Winners

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  6. Andee on May 18, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Scott uses the lightweight sheeting and bendable supports like Susy has pictured for his veggies. I have bleeding hearts and trycitis that get nipped by heavy frosts so I use tall trashcans and wide plastic tubs to cover them. Just remember to set a rock on them so the wind doesn’t lift them. And, rocks absorb heat during the day and act as a slow release so we seldom have to worry about our plants that are in our rock gardens. But, the rock gardens also harbor slugs so I wouldn’t suggest it for those yummy veggies. Scott has also noticed that plants that have been well watered bear up much better than dry plants.

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  7. warren on May 18, 2009 at 10:40 am

    We seem to be in a sweet spot for freezing, but the few times I have had to deal with it here, I cover with blankets as well. I have been debating about building a small greenhouse into which I can move stuff, but I haven’t jumped yet…

    Reply to warren's comment

    • Susy on May 18, 2009 at 11:40 am

      I’ve been toying with the idea of building a small greenhouse as well. I have a bunch of old windows and doors I’d love to use, I just don’t have a really sunny spot to put it in, unless I want it in the front yard.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. Daphne on May 18, 2009 at 11:18 am

    I use two things: row covers and old soda bottles filled with water around the plants. I have a similar location to you. I’m on top of a hill in a forest. I don’t tend to get the later frosts that other do. My garden will be fine, but the bottom of the hill will get frost. Tonight there are frost warnings around. I don’t think I need to protect my plants. I’d have a hard time too. My tomatoes have already been caged. The row covers would no longer fit over my plants. I’m going to keep a close eye on the weather before I go to bed just to see if they predict worse.

    Daphne’s last blog post.. Monday Seedling Update and Harvest Tally

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  9. Dave on May 18, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    It’s fairly cool here in TN too, although not that cold! The temperature got down to 38 in our yard. I would protect those berries too. Ours haven’t done as well as I hoped though, I suspect voles munching on the berries. They munch one bite on one then move to the next one and so one. They sampled all kinds of berries then left them to rot.

    To protect our stuff I use old sheets and nursery pots. I put the pots on individual plants and the sheets on the larger ones as well as vegetable beds.

    Dave’s last blog post.. Incorporating Herbs in the Garden

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  10. Louise on May 18, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    My dad used to make big smudge pots if he thought it was going to freeze. The smoke seems to keep the frost away or at least some of the frost. We NEVER lost things to frost when he would do that… And my farmer hubby did the same thing in our fields when we grew canola. It was supposed to freeze and our canola was in the green pod stage so we didn’t want to lose it… The smudge helped there as well… BUT if you live in town smudge pots might not be allowed.

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  11. Judy on May 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    We had a light frost on Sunday morning. I thought my garden would be okay because it is on a hill but I still lost a few plants- but interestingly enough, the heirloom tomatoes pulled through much better than the hybrids. I only have a few hybrid plants and almost every one of them either died or took damage. Our normal low is 50 this time of year but we hit 35. At least it was only for one night and now we’re back to our normal temps.

    Judy’s last blog post.. FROST!!

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    • Susy on May 18, 2009 at 5:25 pm

      That’s very interesting that your heirlooms performed better than the hybrids.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  12. Allie on May 18, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    I’ve been running around covering everything with old sheets at night. We have had several frost warnings. Haven’t gotten my tomatoes in yet, and wondering if I should hold off another week.

    Allie’s last blog post.. Ivee $100 Gift Certificate Winner

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  13. What’s Going On on May 19, 2009 at 9:04 am

    […] Chiot’s Run has been feeling the freeze too. […]

    Reply to What’s Going On's comment

  14. Karen on May 19, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    We woke up to a heavy frost this morning. I did put some compost around my potato plants but when I checked on them around 10 AM they were burnt. There leaves are brown and wilted. I am praying they will recover. Do you have any encouragement that they will revive and grow again? We live in the NE PA region and it went down below 30 here. I hope that will be our last frost. I do love to see the pictures of your gardens.

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