Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Coldest Night In Two Years

We are under a hard freeze warning and these apple blossoms are probably toast by now. The lone apple tree was blossoming Sunday in T-shirt weather. Temps are forecast to hit 22 in the area and stay below freezing for more than 8 hours.

Stop laughing you Nawtherners, this is serious business.

At least I knew it was coming and had time to prepare by toting the datil peppers and bell pepper plants (both blossoming) into the barn. I also covered the hibiscus and banana trees with plastic to trap ground heat. I don't know if it'll be enough if the subfreezing temps last that long.

The pig got extra hay and has a heat lamp in her green piggie A-frame. The faucets were left dripping last night, so hopefully none of the yard and garden exposed plumbing burst.
The cold is a mixed blessing. For my tropical plants on the northern edge of their growing zone, the cold is a survival challenge. For my blueberries whose buds were beginning to swell, it might cause them to slow down a little bit. If they bloom to early there's always that chance of a late frost that wipes out the crop.
Update: Tuesday, predawn.
Weatherbug is only showing 28.9 F here. The Gulf was probably moderating us, but further inland it may have gotten closer to the forecast.
The duration forecast was pretty good. It hit 32 at about 10:00 PM last night, so the predicted 8 hours below freezing is happening.
This could be a good thing if my 'nanners make it. Some of our pestier garden insects and their eggs may not make it through a long deep freeze.
Today would be an excellent day to go manatee lookin' at the springs in the area. The sea cows will be tucked in to that 72 degree spring water soaking up the warmth.
Give it a try, if you're free.
I am not free of course.
Off to work!

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17 comments:

vicki said...

46 here in St. Pete; it went down to 43 around 2am and I finally caved in and turned on the heat for the first time. Until yesterday I was still basking in the (relative) warmth of high 50s-low 60s but I think I've gone all soft. I'm cold. On the other hand, it's 7 in Chicago, 5 up at Lost Loon Lodge. I'll take what I can get and go looking for manatee! (I think my newly planted hibiscus lost a little spunk over night but I just scooted out and they appear to beshivering rather than frozen.) Good luck with your veggie crop starts.

pissed off patricia said...

We don't have frost on the punkins' cause we have no punkins' but we do have frost on the roof. It's about 37 or so here right now (7am) We brought in all the orchids. That's a chore. Covered the ground orchids with an old blanket. It's fun when it's cold as long as it doesn't last long.

Hurricane Teen said...

Ahh FC, it got below freezing before 7:00 and got down to 25 degrees. It's still 29 right now, so that's over 12 hours below freezing. Fortunately I was able to save my Datils and my citrus trees and they seem to be doing just fine. I'm posting about my experience soon :-D

Cathy S. said...

Oh, my gosh. In the rush to protect horses, cats, dogs, bird and bunny from the cold, I forgot the orchids! Fortunately we are on the water, so I don't think it stayed that cold too long here on the central west coast. I'm going to buy one of those recording thermometers today. All I had to check was the horse's nose, who seemed pretty grateful for his blanket this AM. The car thermometer read 42 at 7:15 when I checked it. A lot warmer than you all.

roger said...

it's been freezing here every night for weeks. my new datils are safely in the bathroom hot house under a yard light.

Alan said...

Only made thirty two at my place even though they predicted twenty two so I'm delighted. The heater in my little hoophouse will only keep the inside about seven degrees over what the outside temperature is which would have still be about three degrees under freezing. So last night I was out throwing blankets and sheets over the top while dripping the faucets. My peppers are planted in the garden so they're toast by now as we had a good frost out of it. The lemons and the limes in the hoophouse should be fine though. I did throw a blanket over the foolish lemon in the orchard that started blooming New Years Day.

A little freezing weather is good, but only a little! {laughing}

.....Alan.

Deb said...

Sounds like June weather around here...

swamp4me said...

Cold here, too. We even had this weird, white, fluffy stuff fall out of the sky on Sunday night. Seems I have a vague memory of what that stuff is called...oh, yeah - snow!

Hope your little piggie enjoyed the heat lamp.

Thunder Dave said...

Hey man, we're supposed to be down to single digits this weekend! That's normal for this time of year, but it's been so mild up until now that alot of our spring plants have already started to pop through the ground.

I checked my hops, and they're still underground like they should be! Whew, what a relief!!!

Betsy said...

Here's a great way to keep plants from freezing: right before you turn in for the night, put a couple of gallon jugs of hot water under the sheets or plastic, with the plants. They'll slowly release heat all night long.

If the water is not frozen in the morning, your plants made it!

I grew lettuce in a cold frame through the winter in North Carolina by doing this. The water might be 33 degrees by morning, but it still means that everything is above the freezing point.

threecollie said...

I hope all your stuff, insects excluded makes it through. We are having one of those touch and go winters too. Not enough snow...too much cold. On one hand I hope there is massive life loss amoung the deer tick population and on the other it would be nice if all the alfalfa made it through.

Floridacracker said...

Vicki,
Florida cold is a damp cold. At least you know your cottage heat works:)

POP,
Sounds like a chore. My gingers will turn brown down to the ground, but they'll be back.

HTeen,
I thought about your citrus/pepper plantation. Glad you saved them.

Cathy S,
Wow, that is a big difference in temp. I'm probably 15 seagull miles from true Gulf. Glad your critters made it.

roger,
i hope this year you get fruit!

Alan,
Yes, just enough to get fruit blooming.

Deb,
Well, at least you get to ice skate, we just get cold. Feels like Floridarctica down here today.

Swampy,
I haven't seen snow in ... um ...4 years I guess.

Dave,
I'm glad your hops had sense enough to hunker down. Our redbuds are blooming down here.

Betsy,
Good plan. They used to sell water collars that used the same idea. Farmers will actually spray strawberry fields down here to coat them with ice and moderate their temp.

ThreeCollie,
Here's to frozen ticks! And mosquitoes!

Laura said...

Do you have a fireplace in your house, or a woodstove? Just curious.
I'm really missing my fireplace these days! lol

Floridacracker said...

Laura,
We have a fireplace and as you know, it's usually more for cozy effect than actual heat production here in FL.
We do enjoy it when we get a chance tho!

SophieMae said...

Sure hate to see those apple blossoms bite the dust. It wasn't quite as bad as we expected, but I've had my fill now of winter.

Sure wish I'd had time to look for manatees today. Did you hear about the one they found in Tennessee a few months back?

Ericka said...

you poor darling.

it was 3 when i got up this morning. yes, THREE freakin' degrees, plus (or minus) the icy gusting wind. it was too cold to breathe while walking to the car. why do i live in chicago?

(lol - the word verification is aaiiwhye, which i read as aaii! why?!?)

Floridacracker said...

Sophie,
I hate to see them go to, 'cause those are all that poor misplaced apple usually manages to produce.
I do remember a manatee up the Miss. River story a while back.

Ericka,
I know, we are cold wimps here.
I actually love our cold weather since our summers are such infernos.