Ask a Question forum→Recommendations on what to cover up for frost

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St. Louis, Mo
kwinch
May 4, 2020 6:45 AM CST
I guess it's the boredom due to the stay-at-home order but I am way ahead of where I usually am in getting my garden started. Now I see we might get close to a frost Friday night. Of course I'll put garbage sacks over my tomatoes but I thought I'd ask opinions on what else if anything I should cover up. I have a 14 x 16 tarp with metal conduit attached to the long sides that I use for leaf gathering in the fall which will work good but I can't afford to buy more of those right now. So with limited cover resources what would you suggest I cover for sure? Here is a list of plants I'm concerned about and how far along they are:

Strawberries in bloom with many little berries
Silver Queen sweet corn planted 2 weeks ago just now breaking ground
Bush beans same as corn

I have these plants I don't think I need to worry about:

Spinach
Lettuce
Radishes
Snap Peas
Potatoes

And these I just planted seeds yesterday:

Cucumber
Watermelon
Cantaloupe
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
May 4, 2020 7:06 AM CST
With the warm weather that I have had recently here in Michigan, my raised beds have lots of new lush growth. I am concerned like you but I am going to throw bed sheets over the top. In this way I am going to holdvsome of that warmth in.
My forecast shows near 60 degrees and sunny for days prior and 36-38 at night. Same thing for Saturday and Sunday. It is the 29 on Saturday morning that has me worried.
But I will put sheets out for maybe Thursday night in an attempt to hold that warmth in the raised beds. I'll remove them during the day and back on after sundown. I do not need to hold a lot of heat in, just maybe 5 degrees. The sheets should do that.

I have tomatoes in planters and I will drape those with 2 comforters over the plants within the tomato cages. That should protect them. Good luck!
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Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
Eat more tomatoes!
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gardenfish
May 4, 2020 7:31 AM CST
I'd say yes to covering the strawberries, corn and bush beans. Not much concern for the next plants you mentioned, although you could use a bedsheet over them just in case. My lettuce and spinach made it through two frosts here fine, no coverings. Our lows were 33 and 34, but frost was present on the ground. Seeds should be ok, although this may hamper germination and you may need to replant.
Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
Mother Teresa
St. Louis, Mo
kwinch
May 4, 2020 7:34 AM CST
I have too large an area for bed sheets so with the tarp I have It's either the strawberries or most of the corn or all the beans and some of the corn
Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
Eat more tomatoes!
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Container Gardener Lilies Cat Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Zinnias
Organic Gardener Heirlooms Bee Lover Hummingbirder Echinacea Tomato Heads
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gardenfish
May 4, 2020 7:40 AM CST
I would say strawberries first, because they are the most frost sensitive. We grow a lot of strawberries here, and our growers lost 75% of their crops a couple of years ago due to a late frost. It happened when the plants were in full bloom. The blooms fell off. No blooms, no berries. I'm thinking the temp got down to around 30 degrees that time. I'm also thinking I would cover up the corn rather than the beans. Beans seem to grow much faster from seed than corn, so if you had to replant the beans, you would be harvesting sooner than if you had to replant the corn.
Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
Mother Teresa
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
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BigBill
May 4, 2020 7:45 AM CST
You have to decide that for yourself.

You can try what Florida orange growers try. When the orange crop is threatened by a frost or a freeze, they water them. They use those big sprinklers to bathe them in water all night. If the water coming out of the ground in Florida is 55 degrees then by the time it loses that ambient heat, the oranges survive.
If you put a sprinkler on all night giving them a slow misty soaking, that might do a good job at preventing frost damage.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!

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