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Frost and protecting outside plants


Covering plants The most popular way to guard against frost is with the use of some type of covering. Most anything will work, but old blankets, sheets, and even burlap sacks are best. When covering plants, drape them loosely and secure with stakes, rocks, or bricks. The lighter covers can simply be placed directly over the plants, but heavier covers may require some type of support, such as wire, to prevent the plants from becoming crushed under the weight. Covering tender garden plants in the evening will help retain heat and protect them from freezing.

If freezes are forecast for several nights in a row, plants can stay covered with blankets or sheets for days without harm. But eventually the covers will need to be removed so the plants can get light.

Watering plants If you water your plants 1 or 2 days before the frost will help, Wet soil will hold more heat. However if the temp drops under 32 for many days with no break this will not help. This is only good if the temp dips to frost for a few hours, and then higher temps in the day.

Mulching plants Some people prefer to mulch their garden plants. This is fine for some; however, not all tender plants will tolerate heavy mulching; therefore, these may require covering instead. Popular mulching materials that can be used include straw, pine needles, bark, and loosely piled leaves. Mulch helps to lock in moisture and during cold weather, holds in heat. When using mulch, try to keep the depth at about two to three inches.

Cold frames for plants Some tender plants actually require over-wintering in a cold frame or indoors. Cold frames can be purchased at most garden centers or built easily at home. Wood, cinder blocks, or bricks can be used for the sides and old storm windows can be implemented as the top. For those needing a quick, temporary frame, simply incorporate the use of baled hay or straw. Stack these around your tender plants and apply an old window to the

Raised planters a garden with that is raised a few inches from ground level are safer in frost weather, since cold air tends to collect in sunken areas rather then high mounded areas and raised beds are much easier to cover