Nacogdoches County experts explain how freezing temperatures help gardens

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - For the past few weeks, East Texas has experienced temperatures that many here aren't used to. Despite the warning to cover plants in order to protect them, the low temperatures actually help gardens by giving them time to hibernate.

For the past six years Kent Ferguson has taken a keen interest in growing vegetables.

"As a master gardener, I've been able to learn a lot about gardening that I didn't know before," Ferguson said. "And it has taught me how to be a productive gardener, particular for vegetable gardening."

As a gardener Ferguson tackles many challenges including the cold weather this season.

While the drop in temperatures is not something people are use to, Ricky Thompson at Nacogdoches County Texas A&M AgriLife County Extension agency said it's perfect weather for gardens.

"We call those chilling hours and there's certain plants that require certain amount chilling hours in order for them to do better," Thompson said.

This winter, the hard freezes lasted close to 60 hours and it has left many perennials and annuals a wilted mass of stems and leaves.

"We're suppose to have four seasons and a lot times in our Texas weathers we don't have those four seasons, we have one or the other," Thompson said.

But Thompson said having another 30 hours of cold weather could actually help gardens more during hibernation.

One other benefit from the cold temperatures.

"It actually helps with the bug problem that we have," Thompson said. "We get infested with bugs and if we don't make them go away at some point in time they become a huge problem into the springtime and into the summertime."

Master Gardener's training classes begin Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Nacogdoches Texas A&M AgriLife county extension office. Call 936-560-1924 for more details.

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