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expecting frost tonight, what to cover?

Posted by growinidaho 5 (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 16, 10 at 11:14

Unusual cold temps today and tonight, rain and frost expected. I was wondering what I should cover. Our temp tonight will be 38 degrees or below. Do I need to cover any of the following:


potatoes are starting to flower

melons, pumpkin, cucumbers and zucchini only have 2 or 3 leaves, they just came up last week

peppers have about 8 leaves

corn is about 2-3 inches tall

cole crops, beets, onions, carrots, garlic and lettuce should be fine

If I cover with plastic containers like yogurt cartons, do they need holes in them? I assume I have over 100 plants to cover.
I have milk and vinegar jugs, newspaper, strawberry cartons, egg cartons, soda bottles, frosting tubs, cardboard, buckets, etc. Its supposed to rain off and on, so I don't want to use blankets and the plants are small and tender.
Thanks for your help and suggestions!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: expecting frost tonight, what to cover?

I don' think any of those will actually die at 38 degrees.

They will stop growing until it warms up again.

This is what I use for my tomatoes. I have hoops of pvc pipe and I throw a sheet of clear plastic over the hoops. That holds the plastic up off the plants. If it is going to be really cold, I burn a 100 watt bulb inside the plastic tent.

Before I had the hoops and the plastic, I saved many a tomato by setting a couple of 30 gallon trash cans beside them and throwing a canvas tarp over the can and the tomato. That kept the frost off of them. Of course, the tarp had to be removed each morning.

If you need to cover tomatoes, you'll have to cover the peppers at the same time. I think they are even more sensitive to cold.

RE: expecting frost tonight, what to cover?

I saw on a website, can't vouch for it, to put a gallon jug of water next to each plant to be heated by the sun, this is supposed to warm your plants at ngiht.

I doubt this, but others may be able to add more about it.

RE: expecting frost tonight, what to cover?

Where are you that it's gonna get that cold?

Personally, I wouldn't worry about any of them. If it rains...that'll help.

It'd take a few hours of 32 degrees to do much damage, at this stage.

RE: expecting frost tonight, what to cover?

The tomatoes and melons/vining crops are the most sensitive. They will take 38F but not much below 32F. Melons might die from the cold soil unless it warms up soon.

RE: expecting frost tonight, what to cover?

thanks everyone!
It was 36 degrees but the sun was shining when I checked. I don't think it froze. It never rained. I covered everything to be safe except for the potatoes. Ran out of covers so I put pine needles over the vine seedlings. Last fall we had frost when it was 38 degrees so I didn't want to take any chances.
forpityssake: I am in the mtns of Idaho but elevation is 3000'

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