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Plant Problems: Plant and Garden Frost Protection

Avid gardeners, usually can't resist the temptation to start their garden a little early. After all, we've been waiting all winter to get our hands into some dirt. With an early start, we worry and fret that an unexpected cold snap, will bring frost and freezing temperatures. Our young, frost sensitive seedlings and young plants are at risk.

In the fall, we do everything we can, to extend the growing season a little bit longer. An unexpected frost or freeze can spell an early end to the gardening season, just as our veggies are beginning to ripen. We know as soon as frost ends the growing season, prices will rise in the produce department of our local grocery store.

Therefore, it's vitally important to be prepared to protect your plants.  

Did you Know? Frost and freeze can damage or kill sensitive plants. Cold weather in the thirties can stunt your plants. So, a "cover-up" may be in order anytime the temperatures are expected to dip below 40 degrees.


Methods of Frost Protection

Just about anything that covers the plant, without harming it, helps protect it against frost and freezing weather. Protecting your plants in the spring is much easier, as the plants are small.  Cold Frames, Hot Kaps, Frost Jackets, and plastic or cloth sheets can do the trick. Fall frost protection is more problematic. It is quite difficult to cover a pumpkin plant that is sprawled across the garden. Light sheets of plastic, floating row covers are often used.

As a general rule, the colder the weather, the better your plant protection should be.

Whatever you choose to use, have it handy before you need it. When the late night news comes on, reporting weather colder than earlier expected, you may find yourself in the garden at midnight covering up. That's not the time to go searching for something to use.

 

IMPORTANT: If you covered up your plants at night, you will likely need to remove the protection in the morning, after the weather has warmed up. Sunlight can raise the temperatures inside, to levels that can harm or kill the plant.  

Frost Jackets can be used weeks before the last spring frost.

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