Widespread freeze to impact unprotected gardens and crops in Southwest Georgia
MORGAN, Ga. (WALB) - The upcoming cold Friday morning will be the first freeze for many in South Georgia since April. The freezing temperatures will be a threat to outdoor plants and pets.
Potted plants are relatively easy to take inside, but what if you can’t bring your plants inside?
There are nine community gardens in Calhoun County. UGA Extension Agent Luke Crossen said there is little worry about most of the types of crops they have planted.
“I think we will be fine here. Our greens and our turnips, our collards and kale are very cold hearty,” Crossen said.
In fact, that could help the plants they have been growing.
“The way they benefit is that they create more sugars in the plant and we’ll benefit from it because Thanksgiving is next week. People will be able to eat these nice frozen kissed greens and they will be a lot sweeter,” Crossen said.
Crossen said damage can occur if it gets too cold for too long. He says the bar is 27-28 degrees. If that happens to your plant, he says you’ll notice brown wilting leaves.
“That isn’t always going to be a symptom of a plant dying. It can come out of it. A lot of times it does. Just wait a few days, see if it comes out of it and if not, you can always prune those off and let the rest of the plant continue growing,” Crossen said.
Corn, peppers, beans and peas are some vegetables that will be most adversely affected by frost. Also, younger plants can be affected as well. Crossen said there are still plenty of young plants in their community gardens. Some in Calhoun Community Garden lost vegetables to an early-season frost last month. Crossen said he is better prepared this time around by covering some of them.
Harvest season is also in mind for him. Crossen said in his county, some late cotton is still yet to be picked. This freeze won’t allow some of the cotton bolls to open. That means any unopened cotton cannot be harvested. Most of the crop has been harvested, so this is impacting very few crops.
Crossen also has peanuts being harvested in his county. He said farmers got a late start to the planting season, so crops are maturing a little later.
“The hot and dry conditions affect the germination and vigor of the seed so a lot of farmers decided to plant late. We have about 70% cotton harvested and most peanuts as of today,” Crossen said.
According to the National Weather Service, Albany expects to get freezing temperatures on average 30 times a year. Albany’s hasn’t gotten to 32 degrees yet. The first freeze is on average in mid-November, so this freeze is on time for what’s expected.
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