Frost and Potatoes

tishtoshnm Zone 6/NMApril 29, 2010

After a lot of beautiful weather, things are about to change. My potatoes have already sprouted but over the next couple of nights we will have freezes with one night as low as 20 degrees. I have hilled dirt over the vines and 2 of the main beds have a row cover. Should I bother to add old sheets as well? Any other advice beyond planting later next year?

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get some gallon jugs or two liters of water out there and let em heat up from the sun! Sheets too at night.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 2:39PM
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Have you done any google searches to answer your question.

I suspect your plants will be fine without protection.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 2:47PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

Of note too is that a big complication is wind. We have sustained winds of 30 mph and gusts of 65-70 mph. I fear the wind will cool everything much quicker than normal. Thank you for any help.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 2:51PM
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Hi Tishtosh,

Mine got killed 2 weeks ago...same story as yours... but I didn't get any covering on them because I am a moron ;-)

But... Alas... They all came back and just pushed off the frozen ,burned,shriveled leaves aside and are now bustin' a move once again... Thank God ;-)

Todays Pics

same potatoes before the freeze

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 6:48PM
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YIKES! FREEZING? Where are you?

I planted mine, Good Friday, and if they haven't gotten drowned out, it'll surprise me. No sign of them...YET!We've had a LOT of rain in the 4 weeks since they got planted, and this weekend...supposed to have rain for 3 days.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 7:43PM
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Potatoes are freez and frost sensative. Dipping to 20F is alarming.
We don't know how many hills you have but here is my advice.
-- cover them with lots of dry leaves/hay/pine straw and then put a blanket or somehing over them.

Make sure to take the cover off (not the leaves) the follwing day
if it gets sunny.Once the threat is over, you can remove the hay/straw stuff too.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 8:26PM
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In the past my potatoes have survived frosts, specially if they are just out of the ground. Some plants have to have a few inches of green growth, well clear of the soil, to get serious frost damage.

However, 20F is another matter. IMHO, covering them with dirt (or wood chips or leaves if you have them) provides much more insulation than covering them with sheets or plastic. So if you have mounded them, you are done. 20F will not penetrate an inch of dirt, if it gets above freezing during the day, and with the topsoil already warm.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 8:33PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

FPS, I am in central New Mexico. For my location the average last frost date is May 15th. If I would just move west about 30 miles, I would jump a zone but I would have to live on a lot the size of a postage stamp so I just have to keep learning how to cope with the climate I have.

Thank you for the advice. I have mounded the dirt and will hope for the best. Even with the next couple of nights of freezes, the day time temps will still reach the 50s. Sometime next week there is a shot at the 80s. I find Spring very, very frustrating.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 9:11PM
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Also, water them REALLY well (in addition to what everyone else said). I know this sounds counterintuitive because because being wet makes US colder, but the more water the plants/soil have in them, the longer it takes for them to freeze.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 11:11AM
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I sure hope your potatoes are okay. Newspaper would be a pretty good insulator.

Good LUCK! I thought of you, all day.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 11:57PM
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