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Forums > Active Threads > Home and Garden > Garden and Landscape

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Frosted garden

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2010-05-15          170796


About a week ago frost was predicted, yup it frosted, roof's, lawns, etc. were white at sunrise.
OK, night before we covered the tomatoes, they're fine, moat everything else is OK too except some of the potatoes.
Our spring was early and warm so the taters got planted on Good Friday, they came up like bang and were about 6-8 in. tall the night of the frost. Not being a career potato farmer I didn't realize they were sensitive to frost.
Now the rest of the story. A couple days before the frost I put grass clipings mulch around just a few potatoes about the same depth as the taters were tall till I ran out of clippings. Guess which taters froze, the mulched ones of course, the others just standing out in the cold didn't.
Someone here surely knows why, I dont.

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Frosted garden

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2010-05-15          170801


Traditionally Memorial day is when we plant here.

Don't know why they froze. We used to spray water on stuff which acts as an insulator---orchards in Florida do the same thing. ....

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Frosted garden

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2010-05-15          170802


Memorial Day? Really? So you dig em on Christmas?
My Mom always tried to have new taters and fresh peas on July 4th, wow I'm hungry just thinking about new taters and new peas, Oh My. ....

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Frosted garden

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2010-05-15          170808


Are you talking Irish potatos? We plant them here in February, March the latest. Are you sure it killed them or just burnt the leaves? I may be way off but unless they freeze think they will come out of it. ....

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Frosted garden

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2010-05-16          170812


I'm not sure if they're Irish. I planted several variteys, I think the frozen ones were Red Pontiac.
They do look like they are going to recover, the stems are nice and green and loook like some new leaves are coming.
Even tho we were lifetime farmers we just never had time to grow a garden. I used to help Mom with a garden but that was a long while ago so I forgot a lot since then. ....

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Frosted garden

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2010-05-17          170864


Quote:
Originally Posted by hardwood | view 170796
[QUOTE=hardwood;170796] A couple days before the frost I put grass clipings mulch around just a few potatoes about the same depth as the taters were tall till I ran out of clippings.

Guess which taters froze, the mulched ones of course, the others just standing out in the cold didn't.

Someone here surely knows why, I dont. [/QUOTE]

Frank, I suspect it wasn't frost that killed off your 'taters, but the grass clippings themselves.

If the grass clippings were fresh, not dried out, they would have done two things almost certain to kill tender young plants. First, a day or two in the sun will certainly cause fresh clippings to heat well above the point the seedlings can endure. Secondly the fresh grass in even a little sun would have given off enough gas (mostly nitrogen) by the decomposition process to either burn or just oxygen deprive the plants.

We use something "row hoops" to protect stuff in the garden from frost. It is basically just long thin pieces of stiff wire that is bent in a hoop shape over the rows, then covered with light clear plastic. It's really quick and easy to install and then you have the choice of flipping it up over the plants, or pull it back so it doesn't get too hot.

It also helps in that the dew or (if it's cold enough) frost that settles does so on the plastic which then directs the water into the soil of each row once the sun gets on the plastic and warms it.

They also speed up the growing enough that you get about the equivalent of being one full USDA Zone warmer.

That means 'taters sooner!!

Bring on the salt & butter!!! LOL



Best of luck. ....

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Frosted garden

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2010-05-17          170868


Ole Murf, had not thought about the heat given off by the fresh grass clippings. No doubt that would make the leaves more tender than normal.

Frank, I would call your potatoes Irish or at least not Sweet Potatoes. Now they don't stand up to frost. ....

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Frosted garden

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2010-05-17          170869


Frank just as I hit submit thought of something about your mulch that here would be a problem...I would not use grass clippings here as it will end up attracting mice which will in turn attract snakes which will in turn cause you not to want to reach your hand into the mulch to dig some small fresh potatoes leaving the bush in place to produce. Here we keep plowing more dirt to the bushes to keep the potatoes buried good. You do know they grow above the part of potato you planted and must not have sun light on the potato itself. ....

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Frosted garden

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2010-05-17          170876


Hey, I hit the jackpot of info here on the taters.
The frozen and/or gassed ones look decent now. I did do the rest as soon as they peeked above the ground and they look good so far. I was kind of proud of myself by actually justifing the grass catcher thing for the mower to the Mrs. The garden has a sort of a neat look instead of a big weed patch.
Now about harvesting the taters. Last fall the Grand daughters 7/15 helped me dig the taters. No digging necessary, the taters were right almost on top of the soil under the clippings, you could just pick them up. Never thought about mice and snakes, we didn't see any. The 15 yr. old girl would have probably fainted but the 7 yr. old one would have probably wanted to have took them home in a box for a pet. ....

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Frosted garden

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2010-05-17          170877


Quote:
Originally Posted by hardwood | view 170876
I was kind of proud of myself by actually justifing the grass catcher thing for the mower to the Mrs.


Frank, there's still time to make yourself look good in front of the Boss, fear not.

You just need to spread the clippings out for a day in the hot sun to bake them mostly dry, then re-bag them and spread them out as mulch. On a hot sunny day a thin layer will dry out in just a few hours.

You just missed a step is all.


Best of luck. ....

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Frosted garden

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2010-05-17          170878


Frank, I am not much of a boil Irish potato fan but if you will dig them (using hand is normally best) when smaller than golf ball they are good. Some people like them even smaller with garden peas and dumplings. Hungry yet? Don't forget a little fat back or bacon in there. ....

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Frosted garden

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2010-05-17          170880


Quote:
Originally Posted by kthompson | view 170878
Frank, I am not much of a boil Irish potato fan .......



I'm guessing you wouldn't turn down a good pot of Low Country Boil though Kenny.

Or is 'taters ok when they're boiled down with all the other good stuff? LOL


Best of luck. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2010-05-17          170885


Thanks Murf; I've learned a lot here today but I'm not sure I can retain that much information all in one day.
I'll spread the next batch just to be on the safe side.
I have a friend who claims to know more about a horse than the guy who invented them. He says that fresh grass clippings will kill a horse. I won't argue with him as I know less than nothing about a horse.
Anybody else here old enough to remember Mr. Ed, the talking horse? We could ask him I guess. ....

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