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Omaha will see freezing temps overnight; gardeners should pick tomatoes now
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Omaha will see freezing temps overnight; gardeners should pick tomatoes now

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An October snowstorm mangled and uprooted Omaha’s trees, flinging broken branches into power lines and leaving parts of the area powerless and shivering for days.

Temperatures in the Omaha area will dip below freezing Monday night into Tuesday morning, so gardeners with tomatoes still on the vine will want to pick them by Monday evening, a local horticulturist said.

"If anybody has any tomato plants that they have kept going through the fall, now is the time to harvest any mature green tomatoes," said Scott Evans, horticulture program coordinator for Nebraska Extension in Douglas-Sarpy Counties.

Evans said Monday that people should wrap the tomatoes in newspaper and put them in a brown paper sack or cardboard box to help prevent spoilage or rotting. It may take them two to three weeks to ripen, he said.

"We want to put them in the dark," Evans said. "The darkness is what the tomato actually needs to ripen."

People who have herbs such as basil, rosemary and oregano will either want to harvest the herbs now or bring the plants inside, he said.

The National Weather Service office in Valley is forecasting a low of 29 degrees for the area, said Paul Fajman, a Valley-based meteorologist. It looks like the Omaha area will see temperatures at 32 degrees or below for five to six hours, he said.

The first freeze for the area typically is around Oct. 14, Fajman noted, so people have had a little longer than normal to enjoy above-freezing conditions.

The last time Omaha hit 32 or below was April 21, Fajman said.

Trees, shrubs and perennials will be fine in the cold, Evans said, but annuals such as coleus, impatiens, salvia, sweet potato vine and alyssum are done for. "It's time to say goodbye," he said.


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Omaha World-Herald: Afternoon Update

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Bob Glissmann helps cover public safety and weather events as an editor on The World-Herald's breaking news desk. Follow him on Twitter @BobGlissmann. Phone: 402-444-1109.

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