Senior Member
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Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 1:18 am
Location: Central Connecticut

I need advice - what would you do in cold temps?

Freezing temps are coming for 3 nights!

I still have onions, peppers, potatoes, broccoli and peanuts growing in the garden. I got a really late start this year because I broke my wrist in March and didn't get any kind of strength/motion back in my wrist/hand until June, so I couldn't plant the garden until June 17.

I am not really worried about my onions, broccoli or potatoes, but for my peanuts and peppers I am definitely worried.

Luckily we have had warmer temps here in Connecticut and the plants are still doing fine, BUT Saturday night through Monday night, we will have freezing temps at night - between 27 and 32 degrees for 3 nights in a row! Then we go back up to 60s during the day and 40s at night.

But my peanuts and peppers are not ready for harvesting yet. Thanks to the stupid pepper maggot fly, I lost most of my peppers early on and now I have a bunch of new peppers that are doing great, but these temps are coming! And the peanuts are still growing new leaves.

These plants will die from these temps right? Should I just harvest everything now or is there anything I can do? For instance, can I go out and buy some cheap sheets and cover them? Is there any special way to cover them? Or that just won't work and I should harvest now? I hate to harvest now since temps go back up next week.

What would you all do???? Please help with advice, thank you!

Super Green Thumb
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Re: I need advice - what would you do in cold temps?

I lost my pepper plants last winter after they managed to over-winter the prior year. Hated to lose them as they were huge and putting out lots of peppers when the weather was warmer. You could try covering them and maybe running a light with a halogen type bulb that produces a bit of heat and see if that works. Just be careful to not get the light too close to the material used to cover the plants since they get quite hot.

Peppers really don't like cold and mine died in just a couple nights of below freezing temps. and I live in New Orleans.

Good luck.

Edited for this: I wouldn't use something as light as a sheet. You can get those blue tarps from Home Depot fairly cheap and I'd use that since it will not allow air to penetrate like sheets will. You may have to put us some sort of support stakes to keep the weight of the tarp directly off the plants.

Green Thumb
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Re: I need advice - what would you do in cold temps?

There are a couple of things that you could try. Row covers will keep the plants warmer then they would be by several degrees, but that is expensive. If the peppers are caged then you could cover them with clear heavy plastic down to the ground and weight it down like a cold frame. I use clothes pins along the tomato cage to hold the plastic on. That will also give them much warmer daytime temps. Those three nights will also end potato growth, but you will still be able to harvest them, but they won't last as long or be a big.

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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: I need advice - what would you do in cold temps?

Im not sure you are going to get much growth out of the peanuts at this point even if you manage to get them through the freeze. But if you are going to try, I would mulch the ground around them with black plastic overlaid with clear plastic (or even better, put some bricks or rocks around them then cover with clear plastic. Then build a little green house over them with hoops and plastic sheeting. For 27°F you will need to cover them with buckets or something... Maybe cardboard box or storage tub.

For peppers, this is what I do -- (go to the thread to see the photos)

Subject: 2015-2016 Winter Indoor Tomatoes, etc. Garden
applestar wrote:Container grown as well as dug/potted up mostly hot peppers with green and ripening fruits have been moved inside under the Family Room Winter Wonderland lights. also pictured on the right are four Dunkel Violetter variegated purple/black pepper plants that have just started to bloom and fruit in the Winter Paradise indoor greenhouse shelves :()
- Naga Seasoning, Bolivian Rainbow, Peppadew, Bolivian Rainbow (4)
- Phal orchid, Peppadew, De Arbol (2), Diamond eggplant
- Thai Dragon & Sun Thai, Alma Edes/Feherozone/Szentesi Feher, Fish (4)

Smaller plants are in the Garage V8 Nursery along with seedling Winter Indoor Tomatoes and some winter herb garden, curry plant, etc.: One of Dwarf Arctic Rose x Utyonok has started to bloom already Image
...I couldn't resist bringing in the tiny Mini Paprika plant, even though another plant in the pepper SIP grew to a HUGE size.... :>
If you look for my "bringing peppers inside" threads from previous years, I've described how I dig up peppers with green fruits, bag the root balls in 2x or 3x plastic grocery bags, and keep them in the garage to finish ripening. I won't have to do that with my sweet peppers ths year IF I can haul the two Rubbermaid tub SIP's into the garage. I'll be doing that tomorrow, I think.

Luckily, you CAN also harvest peppers while green and eat them that way, too.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Senior Member
Posts: 229
Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 1:18 am
Location: Central Connecticut

Re: I need advice - what would you do in cold temps?

Thank you for the advice!

Unfortunately, I will have to harvest the peanuts and peppers because I do not have the time or resources to do what you all suggested. :( It is such a bummer because I was just out there are there and not only are the peanuts still thriving and forming, but I have soooooooo many peppers now that were not affected by the stupid pepper maggot fly (which I am sure will be back next year :evil: ) cuz those things are finally gone this year and these peppers are new and sooooooooo many peppers are just forming. I wish I lived somewhere warmer. Someday...

My potato plants have already died off. I have already dug up so many potatoes and I did hear you can leave them in the ground for a while, which will be easier for me until it really gets cold so I can at least leave those for now.

Again, thanks for the advice! It helped in my decision!

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Super Green Thumb
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Re: I need advice - what would you do in cold temps?

I can only suggest what I do. Go to the local lumber yard and buy a roll of 6 mil poly. It comes in different widths. Cover the crops with it. It will protect them from freezing.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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Super Green Thumb
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Re: I need advice - what would you do in cold temps?

Personally, I think even covered with plastic, your peppers are not likely to make it through three nights of hard freeze (if that's what you have). I would do as applestar suggested - dig them up, put them in pots and bring them in for the winter.

Otherwise time to put the garden to bed except for the things like broccoli and onions, which will be fine!
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: Facebook page I manage for them: Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

Greener Thumb
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Location: Brownville, Ne

Re: I need advice - what would you do in cold temps?

By this time of the year not much is still growing in this area of the country. I have journals going back the ten years having lived here and right now we are on borrowed time for frost. My average is October 12 and this is the latest in those ten years.

That said, I am prepared so that when frost is forecast everything remaining alive will be harvested. By this time of year this fat old guy is about ready for a rest from the garden. After harvest comes the clean-up and tilling mulch under and then everything and everybody gets to rest for a couple of months. By January, or sooner, the process begins again.
Paul F

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