Here Comes The Cold: Your Sprinklers Will Probably Be Fine, But Your Tomatoes Need You

Bob Child/AP Photo
Organically grown tomatoes hang from a vine at the organic garden on the edge of the Yale University campus in New Haven, Conn., Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2007.

The clock is ticking and people are panicking to get things in order before the big freeze Wednesday night into Thursday.

Carrie Noris, manager at CS Sprinklers, said she’s fielded at least 400 phone calls this week to get their sprinklers blown out.

“It's been insane,” she said. “They get scared because it freaks them out when they hear freeze. And when you tell them things underground, it's not going to freeze ... Once they realize that, they calm down.”

If you haven’t blown your sprinklers out yet, don’t worry. Noris said you just have to turn the sprinklers off. Then go to your backflow, release the pressure and the water and cover it up.

She said one CS Sprinkler worker was doing just this at commercial sites in the Denver metro Wednesday afternoon.

“He's not even blowing them out anymore,” Noris said. “It's not feasible. It doesn't matter because we want them to be able to turn their sprinklers back on.”

It’s actually a little early to shut your sprinkler system down for the season, Noris said. CS Sprinklers recommends turning them off by Nov. 1, but acknowledges we are dealing with Colorado weather.

Temperatures are expected to be in the high 60s, low 70s next week in the Denver area and the Western Slope.

CSU Master Gardener Loni Gaudet said to harvest any food and vegetation before going to bed tonight.

“Don’t panic, this happens every year,” she said. “Any tomatoes, even if they’re green, they will ripen on the counter. You can pick out lettuces, anything like that and bring them in.”

Bring any pumpkins, spaghetti squash or butternut squash inside to a dry area like a garage or shed where they can cure, she said.

Colorado’s Department of Transportation warned motorists to prepare for the weather with snow tires.

“People should just give themselves extra time to travel,” CDOT spokesman Bob Wilson said. “Usually the first snowstorm of the season tends to surprise drivers and people drive quite a bit slower … Be prepared for the unexpected. There might be some slick spots not just on the state highway system but on local roadways as well.”

CDOT will not pre-treat roadways with salt brine because the rain will wash it away, Wilson said. Crews will de-ice roads once the snow starts and plans to clear the pavement.

RTD’s bus and rail operators are also prepared for the ice and snow expected Thursday morning, spokeswoman Laurie Huff said.

“We would encourage (riders) to allow a little bit of extra time in the morning as they’re getting out the door, to consider dressing a little more warmly,” she said.

Huff recommended following the agency on Twitter for updates and using its trip planner.