We are still 2 to 3 weeks away from our average last frost date. I really, really hope the warm weather holds out, for the sake of my fruit trees. A night below 30 degrees (F) could kill all these flowers and the fruit they bring.
Posts Tagged ‘frost’
My part of the world has an average first frost date of October 21st. This year is warmer. I did have frost on the windshield of my car one morning last week, but the back yard was unaffected. Last night’s low was 60 (F).
Back in mid-June, when I came back from vacation, I noticed that my tomatoes had a rapidly worsening blight. As a last-ditch effort, I planted some tomato seeds in pots. I had no idea if there would time enough for them to produce fruit for me.
One of the plants is still going, and a couple of it’s tomatoes are showing signs of coloring up!
It definitely looks like I will have at least one red vine-ripened tomato for Halloween in Illinois this year! Stay tuned in a couple days for a post on how easy it can be to ripen your green tomatoes indoors.
What can you do when you have already planted tomatoes in your garden and you notice that the forecasted overnight low is going to get dangerously close to freezing?
Cover them! The ground around the tomatoes will still be warm with the heat absorbed from the sun all week. Even if the ground is 50 degrees, it will still radiate this heat all night. If you cover the tomatoes as this heat rises, you can capture it and contain it to keep the plants a few degrees warmer than the outside air.
You can also put jugs or buckets of hot water under the cover, as long as you as sure they won’t tip over and burn the tomato roots. This will probably help a lot.
Here are a couple pictures of my scrounged tomato covers from last weekend:
Lovely, right? Yes, the first one is a soccer net, covered with a used plastic painting tarp and some camping sheets (that I had just washed, gosh!)
I was just outside covering the cherry trees I planted last year. They are doing quite well this year and are already flowering thanks to this very early spring we are having this year.
However, a forecasted low of 36 is awfully close to freezing and I don’t want to take any chances that those blossoms will drop off. I threw a sheet over each tree which should keep them a few degrees warmer than the outside air.
I planted out four of my 12 tomato plants last night. One each of Super Marmande, Rutgers, Gardener’s Delight and Cold Set.
According to the chart I found for Illinois historic temperatures, after April 24th there is only a 10% chance of having another 32 degree night.
Tonight’s low is supposed to be 41, and the forecast shows the daily low rising for the next 6 nights. Hopefully there won’t be any frost tonight, but even if there is, I have more plants ready.