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What happens when my plants freeze/are frosted on: my exp

13 years ago

I answered the first thread on freezing a long time ago, but

my browser crashed when I pushed submit.

I did not have the heart to retype it all.

here is a summary of my findings for that thread, and the

2-3 that have popped up since.

Plan A: Planted Dec 22nd

Plan B: Planted Early Feb

I have experienced both freeze and frost this year.

executive summaries

Frost: if you started 'too early', not that a big deal. You lose some time, but it is recoverable.

Freeze: start over, even if you have to buy starts.

The devil is in the details. Even if things look OK, be very



I believe in starting starts WAY too early. Dec 22nd for set out mid May/June 1st.

gory details, frost:

Plants are ~6 weeks old.

There were some unseasonably warm days, 60ish day temps, in February so I put my plants outside.

An unplanned situation at work kept me until 11 PM.

Twice in a row this happened.

The plants got frosted on though outside temps didn't go below ~40.

Their leaves immediately wilted.

Of the 40 outside, about 90% survived with a set back of 1-2 weeks as they grew new leaves.

A few were totally unphased.

gory details: The Great Freeze of early Feb.

120 plants in a green house like thing.

I have a space heater to keep them warm at night.

A dog unplugs space heater on the night that temps drop to 18.

My primitive calculations lead me to believe the tomato

plants were exposed to 32 degree temperature for 1-2 hours.

The plants are for the most part frozen solid.


From memory, my notes are not available at this time. Numbers, times may be a bit skewed.

day 1:

10 outright die.

All but 10 odd plants leaves wilt upon thaw.

The 10 seem unphased. The 10 are are all unnamed early types.

Plant 40 new plants inside as Plan B.

week one:

I did not know, so contrary to advice given on the forum

at a later day, I cut all the wilted leaves off all the plants. I see no growth.

Week 2:

Some signs of life. Most plants have suckers starting to grow.

I think I have dodged a bullet.

10 more die with no growth.

week 3:

After some hopeful growth, 20 more die.

40 down, 80 more to go.

Most plants are starting to look like full recovery.

Week 4

Despite the good growth, 10 more give up the ghost

30 more odd plants grow, but very slowly.

40 seem to be doing pretty dang good.

My Plan B now 6 week old plants that were inside, never frozen,

are doing pretty good.

Week 5-7

the 30 slow ones fail to gain strength. they just sit there, mostly the same size. 5 a week die.

Week 8, today.

I have 30 decent, untrustworthy plants.

Throw out 10 more as dead.

40 more seem like they will never recover.

The good ones seem too mostly to have recovered, but have no where near the strength and vitality of the Plan B plants.

Last year the Plan A plants at this time had fantastic root systems and were often 3' tall.

The Plan B plants, while not nearly as good as last years early starts easily surpass this years Plan A plants

in every measure.

How many of the plan A plants will die in the weeks to come,

I have no idea. Is there a disease opportunity introduced

by the freezing? I don't know.

In hind sight, had I the seeds to start over early Feb, I would have tossed all the frozen ones.

In short, the plants will hang on and give you hope, and ultimately likely disappoint.

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