Most people don’t know how to protect plants from frost, as it is a sensitive matter.
You can quickly lose your garden in the spring or fall due to an unexpected freeze. It is particularly harmful to young seedlings that cannot cope with sudden temperature changes early in the growing season.
Although we try to get as much food harvested in autumn, it can cause established plants to become dormant and nonproductive.
How can I understand Frost?
As water vapor is exposed to temperatures below the freezing point, it changes from a gas to a solid, forming a thin layer of Frost.
Dates of Frost
No matter what time of year you plant or how frosty the days are in late fall, keep your plants from getting hampered by a cold snap. To know when Frost usually occurs, you should learn when it happens in your area. Calculate how often your area will experience Frost in spring and fall with the Frost Dates Calculator.
Often, when frost dates are displayed on weather sites, a 50% chance of Frost is indicated. For gardeners, this 30% chance is reasonable. Are you willing to let your plants die by 50%?
It is important to remember that frost dates are only guidelines. Frost’s predictions are not made based on a single year’s data but rather a multiple-year average. In addition, frost dates are determined by the nearest weather station; they don’t identify microclimates, such as low spots or areas near water and pavement, in your yard.
Be sure to keep a close eye on the weather forecast each day! Make sure your plants are protected if temperatures are expected to drop.
How to Protect Your Plants from Frost
There are multiple techniques that will help you to protect your plants from frost.
Protect your plants with a tarp
In general, covering plants creates an air pocket that keeps them warm.
Low Mulch Plants
A thin layer of straw or leaf mold can be used as a mulch over low plants during a brief period of cold weather. If Frost is imminent, remove.
Bring indoor potted plants.
If there is a chance of Frost, wait until dusk to bring potted plants and hanging baskets inside.
Unlike plants planted in the ground, plants in containers are more likely to be damaged by Frost because they have no insulation value from the earth.
Cooler temperatures increase the likelihood of root damage on potted plants.
Maintaining moist soil helps protect plants against the cold, despite what it may seem.
In moist soils, heat is radiated upward upon nightfall.
If you want to water plants before a cold snap, do it midday when the temperatures are still relatively warm.
Put a blanket on them
You can cover up a larger group of plants with blankets, towels, bedsheets, etc.
Lay several stakes around the plants before you lay the fabric so that when you cover them, a tent-like structure forms. Ensure that the material drapes over the plants down to the soil line.
If you tie it off, it will prevent the earth’s heat from permeating up through the plant.
Ensure root crop protection
If you are in a temperate climate, root crops can be left in the ground. In some cases, like parsnips, Frost makes them sweeter. When the ground freezes solid for an extended period, you’ll have to dig your root vegetables up. Make sure the containers are cool, dry, and frost-free.
Maintain a moving airflow
To prevent frost damage on vast areas of commercial agriculture, farmers have employed several techniques to simulate wind.
A selective inverted sink uses a large fan inside a chimney to pull cold air away while it pulls warmer air downward.
Another way to keep the air moving is by using low-flying helicopters.
To prevent the ground around frost-sensitive plants from freezing, apply a heavy layer of mulch. Harvest is possible after the ground has frozen, so long as it is not frozen. Vegetables that can be eaten this way are beets, broccoli, cabbage, celery, lettuce, parsnips, arugula, and Swiss chard.
Fall is ideal for harvesting winter-hardy plants, such as carrots, garlic, horseradish, leeks, parsnips, radishes, spinach, and turnips.