- Water deeply in the evening. Hose water in South Florida comes out the tap in the mid-60s, and it will protect your plants' roots. This is especially important for container-grown plants, which don't have the insulating benefit of the earth.
- Cover them with sheets. It doesn't have to be an airtight seal, but a sheet will help shield the plant from the wind, trap radiant heat from the ground, and in the very worst-case scenario, protect the plant's leaves from frost (which will cover the sheet, not the tender leaves).
- Move 'em inside if you can. If you only have a pot or two, and that pot is on wheels or you just happen to be extremely strong, and you have a garage or covered patio, drag the plant up into shelter. Personally, I can't do this--too many plants, too large of pots--so you know, don't rub it in if you can.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Cover 'Em Up
Whew, it's cold out there! I just got back inside from watering and my feet are freezing ... which of course is my own fault since I'm in shorts and barefoot, but still. It's cold.
This past weekend's cold snap wasn't much to worry about, but I think tonight and tomorrow are expected to be rather colder. I even heard the dreaded F-word for the inland areas. (If you're wondering, the word is "frost."). Tomatoes do fine to about 50ºF. Below that, they'll stop setting fruit until it warms back up. The 40s can be tricky—a few hours dipping into the 40s won't really hurt your plants, but they're not going to love it much.
But the 30ºs can be a real issue. This is when you can start seeing cold damage on your plants in the form of brown leaves (anybody remember this from last year? Warning: it's graphic.) And freezing (the other other F-word), of course, can be a disaster.
So ... judging from the fact that we're supposed to hit the upper 30s or lower 40s over the next few nights, and the wind chill can make that even worse, it makes sense to take a few precautions:
Hopefully, the weather people will be wrong. Not a lot. Just a little. Four or five degrees would be nice. And let's be honest—it wouldn't be the first time they'd blown a call.