Ask a Question forum: unseasonably cool nights and eggplants

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Name: Bhingri
(Zone 6b)
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bhingari
Aug 19, 2014 1:29 PM CST
For month of August it is way too cold at night. hovering just below 60. Do I need to cover my eggplants in containers? How cold is cold for them. I have already had two harvests but there is another on its way and I would like to extend the period as much as possible. Last time they were fine till end of September as it was pretty warm in August and kind of ok in September.

Thanks.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 19, 2014 2:48 PM CST
My eggplants usually continue to bloom and set fruit until the nights get down to about 50ish. That happens for us usually in November.

I'd think at this time of year there's probably enough heat in the ground to keep your plants warm at night for at least another month.

Just keep an eye on the new flowers to see if they are setting fruit. If not, maybe a cover would help.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Bhingri
(Zone 6b)
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bhingari
Aug 19, 2014 3:01 PM CST
Thanks Elaine.
The plants are in 5 gallon buckets not in the ground. does that make a difference? May be I can put a cloth around the bucket or something. I just mulched one of them so may be that would help too to keep the heat.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 19, 2014 3:11 PM CST
Yes, in buckets they will cool off faster than they would in the ground. To insulate the buckets, you could dig a hole and 'sink' them, so as to take advantage of the warm ground, then mulch them as well. Just wrapping the buckets isn't going to make a whole lot of difference.

The big advantage of having them in buckets, though, is that you can move them to a warmer spot if you have one? A south-facing wall will hold a lot of heat, and stay warmer much later in the season than an open space. If you can situate the buckets against such a wall, that will prolong your season quite a bit.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Aug 20, 2014 3:20 AM CST
We have been getting nights often into the 50's and a few in the 40's, and my eggplants have been blooming and setting fruit, not as much as most years, but doing OK considering this strange weather. I have one in a container, and 3 in the ground. I just harvested two yesterday.
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 20, 2014 12:55 PM CST
Another thing I do when we have some really cool nights in winter is to set clear plastic jugs of water around the plants. The sun warms the water in the daytime, and the water releases the heat slowly at night, keeping the ground and surrounding plants warmer. Portable heat sinks, in effect. The bigger the jugs, the longer they stay warm. We buy drinking water in 2.5gal. containers for hurricane supplies and after we drink the water, they make fabulous heat sinks. I put my used coffee grounds in the water inside them, which keeps mosquitoes from laying eggs in the water, and also makes the water dark to absorb more heat.

You could also water your containers with warm water last thing at night to help keep the plant warm. (don't wet the leaves, though) The ground is The Big Heat Sink as long as the sun is warming it in the daytime and damp soil will hold heat longer than dry soil, too.

Here's one of my little greenhouse shelf units with three jugs on the bottom shelf. They warm up nicely during the day, then when I cover the shelves with the zip up clear plastic, they keep the whole unit nice and toasty at night.
Thumb of 2014-08-20/dyzzypyxxy/613580

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
[Last edited by dyzzypyxxy - Aug 20, 2014 7:37 PM (+)]
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Name: Bhingri
(Zone 6b)
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bhingari
Aug 20, 2014 1:12 PM CST
Thank you everybody.
Elaine thanks for the water jug idea. I have a shelf that I can re-purpose to work somewhat like your green house.

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