Monday, April 28, 2008

Freeze Warning for Tennessee

Hopefully this will be the last time this year but there is a chance of a slight freeze tonight and tomorrow night (April 28 & 28)! The weather forecasters are predicting temperatures in the mid to upper 30's for both nights. After that we should be in the clear.

Protect those plants!

If you are like me and have already planted some tender vegetables or annuals you may want to consider covering them for both nights. The daytime temperatures will be nice, in the upper 60's to low 70's, so your plant will get warmed up during the day! Just remember to take the coverings off when the sun comes back out.

How Do You Protect Your Plants?

I'll be using a combination of fabric sheets (not plastic) and overturned nursery pots.

Empty nursery pots work great to protect your plants. Just find an appropriately size pot and drop it over the plant. They are cheap, easy to use, and I have a bunch of them!


You could use plastic bottles and milk jugs with the bottoms cut off instead if you don't have extra pots lying around. The cloth sheets will cover the larger things that need protecting like my Blue Berry bushes (NTP hint). You can use plastic sheets but just make sure they aren't touching the plants themselves. Cold will transfer through the plastic and touch whatever parts of your plants are touching the plastic!

I'm also going to take some dried grass clippings that I have and cover my small seedlings (squash and cucumbers). I'll be sure to pull it back in the morning when the sun rises.

11 comments :

  1. No no no no no no no! Too many things to cover here, but the seedlings still in the flats and the orchids can come back in the greenhouse. Say it ain't so!

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  2. I cannot believe they are calling for frost! Down here in GA they are calling for 39 so I think we will be safe. Mother Nature sure has been confused a lot lately...

    I got that hint... LOL

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  3. Dave, thanks for the great tip about pots. I have lots of them here but never thought of using them as protection for a frost. Do you put a stone on top so they don't blow away?

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  4. Great tip using the pots. Sorry it may freeze so late. I think we are in the clear here.

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  5. Yikes!!! Frost in Middle Tennessee?! My poor family home! But I hope all's well with your plants. Great tip, too!

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  6. Jen-o-topia in TNApril 28, 2008 at 9:43 PM

    My mother always warns me not to plant outside here until Mother's Day ~ and every time I ignore her, I get burned (or rather, frosted!). This weekend I got behind schedule, as I always seem to come across more "stuff that needs doin'" ~ but it turned out to be a blessing, as now I won't have to run outside and try to cover nearly 1200 sf of veggies with buckets and sheets! :)

    Dave, I don't recall whether you had mentioned any mulching for your vegetable beds. Will you be doing any mulching to keep the moisture in, or do your plants stay happy as they are? I am leaning toward straw again this year, but I'm not committed yet. It has its pros and cons.

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  7. We have a freeze watch here (Indiana) as well, typical of this state though. I had a few plants potted outside so I just brought them in. I had maybe two plants that I covered one of which is a rose that I transplanted from my grandmother's garden "just in case".

    Our last frost date here is May 10th. I do my vegetables and the bulk of annual planting after that date.

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  8. We made it through the frost with little to no damage. The crape myrtle that was coming back up took a hit since I forgot to cover it but all veggies are accounted for as are the tender coleus I put in. Of course there was one casualty in the coleus department but that was not due directly to the freeze but more to my stumbling around in the dark while covering plants and stepping on it. Argh.

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  9. Melanie,

    I don't usually mess with a rock but if it's windy it might be a good idea!

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  10. Pittsburgh has a freeze warning for tonight (May 9, 2010). Many people here use newspapers to cover flowering annuals. I cut up wire coathangers to make clips to pin them to the ground. My question is whether adding mulch to cover the plants would be enought to protect them from a freeze or a frost?

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  11. Anonymous,

    Sorry to get to your question late regarding the freeze. I just sat down to the computer. If you mean covering the plants completely with mulch it would probably work as long as there are no gaps for the cold air to penetrate. You would want to be sure to remove all the mulch before the sun got hot in the morning or you might risk damaging them. The same is true for almost any covering though. I do wonder if the more fragile annuals might get damage from the weight of the mulch. Using an old sheet or newspapers like you mention would work better and easier I suspect. If you use plastic make sure the plants don't touch the plastic as it will transfer the cold.

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