Frost Protection












One of the home gardener's biggest concerns certainly is frost protection during the early stages of our spring vegetable and flower gardens. The trouble with frost protection is not knowing when you are going to need it. The weatherman isn't always right and if your plants aren't protected during a severe frost you can lose a large part of your garden investment.

While in the planning stages of designing your garden, be sure to consider factors that might help to eliminate risk of frost damage, such as:

Clear Plastic 
If you choose to use clear plastic, be sure to use supports that keep the plastic from touching your plants; plants will otherwise freeze where they are touching the plastic. For somewhat frost-tolerant plants, building a simple plastic over wire mesh cold frame, which can be opened during the day so as not to overheat the plants, and then closed again at night. Clear plastic used in such a manner provides 3 to 6 degrees Fahrenheit protection over the outside temperature and can extend your growing season by 2 to 6 weeks at both the beginning and end of the growing season.

Fabric Coverings
Covering your garden with blankets and sheets can provide adequate frost protection, but only if they remain dry. Once wet, the evaporation that occurs from the fabric will cool the surrounding area and possibly cause damage to your vegetables.

Floating Row Covers
Floating row covers are commercially available, lightweight fabric lengths that allow light to pass through, and can remain covering the plants for long periods of time, extending even beyond times when frost is generally a problem. For this reason, floating row covers are also frequently used as a garden pest management tool as well as for frost protection. Floating row covers generally provide plants an additional 2 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit protection.