veggies4VA
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Will my seeds germinate under snow/freezing rain? Worried...

Hi there, I'm new to the forum and need some advice about the seeds I just sowed outside yesterday and the day before. (Carrots, chives, radishes, bunching onions, spinach, leaf lettuce in the ground. Red potatoes in buckets.) We're having unseasonably warm temps here in zone 7 - yesterday the high was 80 degrees, with mild temps at night. However, the weekend forecast is calling for freezing night temps (as low as 28F) and a bit of SNOW! :shock:
I'm fully aware that what I've planted are cool weather crops. However, I'm afraid the huge jumps in temps are going to shock my little seeds and interfere with germination. Or, will the temp decline between now and Sunday be gradual enough to help them adjust? Or will it matter?
Here is the full forecast:
Today (Th): high 71, low 43
Friday: 67, 40
Sat: 50, 35
Sun: 38, 29 (70% chance rain+snow)
Mon: 49, 29
Tues: 56, 40
Wed: 70, 50
Should I cover the ground with a sheet before the snow and freezing temps? Or not worry about it? :?: Thanks for your advice!

Peter1142
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Re: Will my seeds germinate under snow/freezing rain? Worrie

You shouldn't worry that they won't germinate due to the cold. That wouldn't be a bad thing considering the weather. They will germinate later when the soil is warm enough for long enough. If nothing has sprouted I wouldn't worry about providing protection.

I'd bring the potatoes in buckets indoors if possible.
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applestar
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Re: Will my seeds germinate under snow/freezing rain? Worrie

I Second bringing the potato buckets inside. They need at least 50-55°F to sprout, and cut up seed potatoes in moist soil with prolonged exposure to lower than 45°F will cause them to rot. If the air temperature goes down below freezing for several hours, they might freeze in the bucket which will kill them.

You chose correct seeds for early spring sowing -- they are freeze hardy seeds and will not be harmed. They will wait until soil has warmed enough -- it will take a while for the ground to warm up even with the daytime highs --then sprout. And even those sprouted seedlings will be frost and hard frost (even snow) hardy.
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jal_ut
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Re: Will my seeds germinate under snow/freezing rain? Worrie

I believe your seeds will be fine. Those varieties have some frost resistance even if germinated.
I also agree that you should protect those potato buckets. Potatoes have no frost resistance. If the ground freezes the tuber will die.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

ButterflyLady29
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Re: Will my seeds germinate under snow/freezing rain? Worrie

I've had better germination rates when carrot seeds have gone through a little freeze/thaw cycle. They'll be okay if they haven't sprouted. If they have sprouted I would cover them on the nights when the temp is supposed to be below 30.

veggies4VA
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Re: Will my seeds germinate under snow/freezing rain? Worrie

Thanks everyone! I feel much better now. Will bring in the potatoes per your advice. :)

veggies4VA
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Re: Will my seeds germinate under snow/freezing rain? Worrie

Just thought I'd let you know, everything is coming up on time so far. Seeing some sprouts of radish, spinach, and lettuce. Maybe even one little onion. It never actually snowed - temps still got close to freezing and it did rain a lot, but nothing crazy. Also, bucket potatoes (planted a week ago) are indoors but already breaking through the surface!
Here's a little picture of the radishes, taken yesterday. Today, they look green and more upright. Thanks again for your advice.
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applestar
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Re: Will my seeds germinate under snow/freezing rain? Worrie

:clap: Yay! Here's to a great start to your gardening season :D
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jal_ut
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Re: Will my seeds germinate under snow/freezing rain? Worrie

What fun. Still cold and snowing here. I am growing a tomato in a pot in the window. Had to plant something. :)
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

veggies4VA
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Re: Will my seeds germinate under snow/freezing rain? Worrie

Thanks applestar! Jal_ut, I know that feeling - being so excited about the garden and just having to start something inside!
An update: radishes look awesome. Lettuce is okay - I am working with lots of rocks and Virginia clay, which I've double dug and amended very much with organic compost and peat moss, but the soil is still pretty clay like. So I'm constantly removing pebbles and the like, and helping little lettuces along whenever I see them peeking out. But the spinach is near non existent. I planted 4 sq ft of it and only had like, 3-4 sprouts come up, lol. The packet says 5-10 days and today is day 10, maybe I'm a little impatient but everything else that should've come up by now has. So I replanted this morning, filling in each little planting spot with a mix of fresh compost and peat, hoping that will help them along. I also realize spinach is finicky to grow.

Taiji
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Re: Will my seeds germinate under snow/freezing rain? Worrie

I always have trouble with spinach too. Last year I went with Swiss Chard mostly because of the rave reviews it gets on this forum! I'm so glad I did. The young leaves are so much like spinach.

veggies4VA
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Re: Will my seeds germinate under snow/freezing rain? Worrie

Thanks for the tip, Taiji. I may go that way with my succession crop if this round doesn't work out.

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