Ask a Question forum→Frost damage?

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Dallas County Iowa
Lorig20
May 28, 2020 3:55 AM CST
I planted my early cool loving crops around Good Friday this year. Everything came up really well. My spinach however has had the long leaves like it gets right before it starts to bolt since coming up, it never got the pretty ruffled broad leaves. My salad bowl lettuce is a big broad funny looking leaf. I've picked tons of spinach and the flavor isn't very spinachy and I haven't tried the lettuce because it took forever to get to a usable size and then I realized something is wrong. I took sample into the garden center (Earl May) and he said it was from the unexpected frost we had this spring. But when I research spinach and frost it says it is hardy for cold weather. Does this sound right?
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
May 28, 2020 5:21 AM CST
Cold hardy does not mean freeze proof. It really depends on just how cold did your overnight lows get?
In general these early spring crops do better getting through cold snaps moist rather then dry!
If your spinach went through 28 degrees moist compared to 26 degrees dry, that could make a huge difference. It's really hard to say. Just how cold did it get by you?

Look at me here in Michigan, I had 26 degrees. I never saw any damage to Hostas before in the 50+ years that I have grown them yet I had minor leaf damage at 26. Spring time damage was something I had never experienced before.
But like I said, soil moisture makes a difference, wind makes a difference, cloud cover makes a difference.
Look I bought a couple of new rose bushes last Friday from a local nursery. They both had leaf damage. They were each trimmed slightly. This was probably cold damage. Normally a nursery would cover sensitive plants but how can you cover plants in a 3 acre nursery. They are in fact colder then me in Livonia MI. They are in Canton MI which had parts of it hit 23-24 degrees.
All I am saying is that cold damage can be very spotty. But in the spring, tender shoots can have a tough time with temperatures below freezing whether its 24, 26 or 30!
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[Last edited by BigBill - May 28, 2020 5:23 AM (+)]
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Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
May 28, 2020 9:47 AM CST
different kind of spinach?
Correnta got good props here for heat resistance
https://extension.oregonstate....
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
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 28, 2020 10:53 AM CST
I ended up with about 10% of frost damage on Hostas. There seemed to be no damage to my Astilbes, Salvias, Monardas or Spiderworts. All were up about 3-4" at the time of the cold air.

The two roses had about 15-20% damage. The taller the Rose, the more damage there was. And on a 2' tall bush, most of the damage was to the upper buds and shoots. I guess that the ground was warm enough to release a little heat so it was a bit warmer near the soil surface.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
[Last edited by BigBill - May 28, 2020 10:54 AM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
May 28, 2020 10:57 AM CST
Your lettuce and spinach weren't harmed directly by the frost but, inadvertently, that's what did them in. Warm, cold snap, warm... They have lived their entire lives in just a month because of the weather.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
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sallyg
May 28, 2020 3:10 PM CST
I agree, suspecting the swings caused the bolting, I know it can for some brassicas.
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Dallas County Iowa
Lorig20
May 28, 2020 9:07 PM CST
DaisyI said:Your lettuce and spinach weren't harmed directly by the frost but, inadvertently, that's what did them in. Warm, cold snap, warm... They have lived their entire lives in just a month because of the weather.


I totally get it. I finally tried the lettuce tonight and it's fine. I was afraid it would be bitter. So I plan on picking all my spinach and lettuce and then I'll be able to plant my green beans early this year!

I don't remember how cold it got that night, but it was pretty cold for spring.

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