Darrell Blackwelder: Prepare for frost tonight

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Darrell Blackwelder
Special to the Salisbury Post
Weather reports are signaling there may be a chance of frost tonight and Wednesday morning. Home gardeners with tender vegetable transplants need to protect against these late frosts. Using an old sheet or bedspread as a temporary cover often protects tender annuals. Some use buckets, cans or anything to cover the plants.
Many garden shops and retail outlets have spun fiber row covers designed for home garden frost protection. Commercial strawberry producers implement spun fiber row covers with remarkable success with limited use of irrigation frost protection.
Retail outlets may also offer plastic bags filled with water that surround tender plants shielding them from frost. The water adsorbs heat during the day and acts to insulate the plants at night when frost is most likely to occur.
Avoid using sheets of plastic to protect tender plants. Foliage is often burned when plastic touches the plants.
Do not try to irrigate your plants to protect them from frost or freezing weather. This type of frost-protection practice is for commercial producers and not recommended for home gardeners. Washing off frost from tomato plants early in the morning is ineffective frost protection.
Darrell Blackwelder is an agricultural agent in charge of horticulture with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Contact him at 704-216-8970.

A late season cold snap is bringing snow to the North Carolina mountains and could bring a freeze to much of the rest of the state.
The National Weather Service has issued freeze watches and warnings for early Wednesday morning for almost all of North Carolina expect the Outer Banks, where lows should be in the 40s, and the mountains, where freezing temperatures are still expected in April.
Forecasters say snow is falling early Tuesday in the mountains, with 2 to 3 inches reported on Beech Mountain. Snow was falling in Asheville, but it wasnít sticking yet.
The weather service says up to 4 inches of snow could fall in higher elevations and 1 to 2 inches in valleys before the storm ends Tuesday night