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Old March 13, 2017   #1
Starlight
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Default Need some cold temp help

The special student I working with his cuckes, squash, and bean plants are in a two gallon container right now. We got frost and freezing temps coming for Wed and especially Thur will be about 21F here.

I told his mom to bring his plants in. She has a small like sunroom type area she is planning on putting them. There is no heat in that sunroom.

I'm not sure if that will be warm enough for his plants or not. I have no idea at what temp the above mentioned will freeze.

I'm wondering if she needs to try and bring them into main part of house to keep warm.
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Old March 13, 2017   #2
KarenO
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Warm house in a bright window would be best for delicate cucumbers etc.
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Old March 13, 2017   #3
PhilaGardener
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I'd say for sure keep them above 40F, so if that sunroom gets too cold, bring them into the house at night. They probably would appreciate being warmer, 'though.
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Old March 13, 2017   #4
Starlight
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Thank you! I'll pass the information on to his mother. Hopefully spring will hurry back to stay.
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Old March 13, 2017   #5
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Star, I live in an older trailer home. Last year, we had a cold morning like that where I left a flat of tomato plants on the floor in a room without heat. The tomato plants didn't survive. I agree with everyone who has already responded. Most importantly, keep them warm.
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Old March 14, 2017   #6
bower
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+1. Coming from a cold place I can tell you that cukes, squash and beans are among the most sensitive to cold - even more than tomatoes.
That being said, I tried early squash in my (attached, unheated) greenhouse one year, started them same time as tomatoes. We certainly had some cool nights and days, that dropped below 50 F and not below 45 irrc, and the young squash plants weren't damaged. It was not actually freezing inside and that was ok for them, because the sheltered greenhouse keeps off moisture and protects from windchill that can easily injure them outside.

If I had to protect them for one night only, it could be worthwhile to bring them into the heated indoors just to be sure. But if there's a day or two of cold, they'd be better off in the sunroom for the light that they need, as long as it's closer to 50 than 40. You can cover them with row cover or a blanket at night, then take it off in the morning when the sun's warming starts to kick in..

Another trick that can make the difference in unheated sunroom or greenhouse space, is to raise them off the ground, especially if you can sit them on top of closed buckets of water or anything a bit massive - on top of empty planters full of soil is also good IME. The coldest place at night will be on the floor/the ground because cold air sinks, warm air rises.

I have sometimes filled juice bottles with hot water and put them under or around containers on an especially cold night. Two liter bottles lost all their heat by midnight (were cool to touch) but still they moderated the temperature enough to keep my plants damage-free. Bigger bottles or buckets will lose their heat more slowly. Clear plastic bottles will also pick up heat from the sun the next day, so you don't have to refill or use more hot water.

Last, one of the best things I tried for to capture solar heat early in the season was some black cloth grocery bags full of small to medium sized rocks. The sun's heat penetrated really well and warmed the rocks, and they give off their heat more slowly than water. The 'shapeless' mass of rocks in a bag could be arranged easily as I wanted, exposed to the sunshine and heaped against the containers to keep soil warm during the night.
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Old March 14, 2017   #7
Starlight
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I really appreciate the advice. Normally I am not starting my plants of these varieties for several weeks yet, but this special person needed to get his started and I just didn't have any experience with these types of plants so early in the season and with bad weather.

I hope I can help lead him to keeping everything alive. Took 7 hours of non stop sitting in one spot for him to sow the seed for 13 containers. Not sure if my rump can handle another 7 to redo.

Plus I'm not sure how he would react to having lost plants. It's taken 3 weeks to get him to understand the concept of why some seeds don't germinate and why we have to get rid of sick looking or deformed new sprouts.

When working with special needs students you can't help but rejoice over their successes and cry with them over losses. It's a challenge for sure. Thank goodness for more experienced growers help on TV. I can't wait til later to show some pics of his crop. His tomatoes are under lights and in the house, so those I know are safe.
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Old March 14, 2017   #8
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Kudos to you, Starlight, for taking on such a great project! Fingers crossed for the plants, and please let us know how they get on. I sure hope you don't have to replant.
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Old March 15, 2017   #9
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Cucurbits are more sensitive to cold than say tomatoes.Depending on the size, they might not die in 30s but could get stressed.
It is easy to re start cucumbers. They germinate and grow real fast.. I always direct sow them.
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Old March 18, 2017   #10
Starlight
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Thanks for the help folks! His plants are alive and well. Hopefully winter over now. I doubt it, but if the cold comes again at least we'll know what to do. : )

He's watching his plants like a hawk. So cute. There so much joy in watching first time gardeners. : )
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Old March 24, 2017   #11
MuddyToes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
Thanks for the help folks! His plants are alive and well. Hopefully winter over now. I doubt it, but if the cold comes again at least we'll know what to do. : )

He's watching his plants like a hawk. So cute. There so much joy in watching first time gardeners. : )
Beautiful. Congrats!
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Old March 31, 2017   #12
SteveP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
Thanks for the help folks! His plants are alive and well. Hopefully winter over now. I doubt it, but if the cold comes again at least we'll know what to do. : )

He's watching his plants like a hawk. So cute. There so much joy in watching first time gardeners. : )
I love this. I have a Special Needs granddaughter who is 12 and isn't able for me to share gardening with her. She is a miracle child as she was born with her brain outside of her skull. Lots of surgeries and disabilities. If I took her into the garden she would pull all of the plants and see how far she could fling them. But would have a big smile on her face while doing it. I wish she was able for me to share garden time.

Thank you for all you do!
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