Marisa Y. Thompson
Question: How long can I leave the green tomatoes on the plants before they are frozen?
Curry County Extension Agriculture Agent Mason Grau
Answer: If the temperature in your area is expected to drop and you can leave fruit on the plants, you are pushing them. Your neighborhood may be a little warmer than the surrounding area, and you will have a few more days (or weeks) to ripen outside. Your plants may be in a warmer microwave in your backyard, which is safer. The temperature in your backyard can drop below freezing but only for a few minutes, so more exposed tomatoes are frozen and turned into mush, but most tomatoes are left untouched under the leaves.
The effects of micro-climate can be dramatic. Experienced gardeners have learned – often the hardest part – how to grow microclimate microfinance. As my forefathers explained in archived columns over the years,
“Your friends from the city or a mile away will have some differences in gardening due to the mild weather in your area. In fact, there will be significant micro-climate differences in the north and south of your home” (https://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/ yard / archives / february-29-2014.html).
– Curtis Smith
“Due to the mild climatic conditions in the garden, New Mexicans can extend the growing season for many vegetables. Planting cold-pressed crops will reduce the temperature. ” (https://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/yard/melon_patch/2001/ April 01.html).
– George Dickerson
It is very difficult to predict exactly when to harvest the final fruits without knowing the exact weather and forecast. Eliot Gordon, an avid gardener and florist, lives in the foothills of Albuquerque and reports that the pepper plant has been producing flowers and fruits since November 21. Nearby temperatures recently dropped to 27 degrees Fahrenheit[27 ° C]in another room in the same compound.
Talk about micro-climate impacts; These special peppers have volunteered this year and are growing in the cracks between the concrete driveway and the cinder block wall in the south. I was curious about how the temperature there differed from the colder and more vulnerable areas, so I dropped a few small temperature loggers around strategically around the Gordon compound. The result shocked both of us.
The low temperatures on the night of November 25 range from 31 degrees to 15.7 degrees! Before inquiring about the hours at which those low altitudes were recorded, I checked out my favorite wind data (ventusky.com), which changed the weather at night and brought cold air from Sandia Peak. In fact, between 3 and 6 o’clock in the morning, “Gusti” up to 11 miles per hour were tossed down the mountains, cooling the Albuquerque hills. According to Gordon, those low temperatures occurred between 5 and 6 am.
Will the flowers on those pepper plants remain viable for the winter harvest and bear fruit? It can’t be. Although the plants themselves continue to be transported in hot climates, the night temperature must generally be above 60 degrees for the fruit to thrive. The flowers will probably fall off any day.
According to several weather websites, this year’s Clovis’ first frost was in early November, with temperatures hovering toward the mid-20s in the middle of the month. Curry County average snowfall is in mid-October and late October. Currently, even the tropical areas of the state are past their average snowfall, so if they have not yet snowed, it will not be long. Visit https://www.plantmaps.com to view your average first and last snowy days, enter your zip code and go to the “More Garden Related Data” section. Remember that average snow days vary depending on the region of the year and the microwave where the data is collected.
For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension Urban Horticulture page at http://desertblooms.nmsu.edu/ and NMSU Horticulture publications at http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_h/. Contact your local Cooperative Promotion Office at https://aces.nmsu.edu/county/.
Marisa W. Thompson, PhD, is an Extraordinary Urban Horticulture Specialist in the Department of Extra Plant Sciences and holds a Center for Agricultural Sciences at New Mexico State University in Los Lunas.
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