Potatoes And Frosts

Can I keep frost off of potato tops by building smudge fires! I would

like to plant about February 1, but we usually have a few light frosts

here during March. If I were to turn water in the field when too cold,

would that keep the frost off, and if so, would I have to turn water

down each row, or would one furrow full of water to about every fourth

or sixth row be enough?

You can prevent frost by smudging for potatoes just as you can for other

vegetables. The potato, however, needs little protection of this kind

and will endure a light frost which would be destructive to tomatoes,

melons, and other more tender growths. Unless you have a very frosty

situation, you can certainly grow potatoes without frost protection, and

they should be planted earlier than February first if the ground is in

good condition. The great secret of success in growing potatoes in

southern California is to get a good early start before the heat and

drought come on. Water will protect from frost if the temperature only

goes to about 28 degrees and does not stay there too long. The more

water there is exposed the longer may be the protection, but probably

not against a lower temperature.

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