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How to Protect Your Vegetable Garden from Frost

You can protect your vegetable garden from frost tonight.

I’m here to help you protect your vegetable garden from frost. Your garden plot is special to you. You’ve put a ton of work in and now a late spring frost is looming in.

Thank goodness for weather predictions so that we can all prepare. But how do you prepare your garden plot and your veggie plants?

Well, in this post, I’m going to share:

– Some ways that you can save your vegetable plants from a frost,
– Best tools for how to protect your vegetable garden from frost,
– A rule of thumb for which vegetable plants to cover and which plants can take the cold.

Listen to the Podcast:

Are you ready to get some good tips about frost protection in your veggie garden? Let’s dig in!

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You Don’t Have to Cover EVERYTHING

Leave all frost hardy things uncovered unless you have loads of extra covers. What do I mean by “frost hardy things?”

I mean that some vegetables can handle pretty cold temperatures.

These crops that can survive temperature in the 30’s include:

– Beets
– Chinese Cabbage
– Collards
– Irish Potatoes
– Bibb Lettuce
– Mustard
– Radishes
– Spinach
– Swiss Chard
– Leaf Lettuce

And these crops can endure temperatures even colder:

– Cabbage
– Broccoli
– Cauliflower
– Brussels Sprouts
– Carrots
– Turnips
– Kale

But these Crops can NOT Handle Temperatures much lower than 40 degrees:

We are talking all of the summer crops here, such as:

– Tomatoes
– Peppers
– Summer Squash
– Green Beans
– Cucumbers
– Egg Plant
– Pretty much all warm season summer crops.

For these crops, you definitely want to spend time covering them. I’ll go more into that in just a little bit.

How Can We Save Crops We Planted Early

So, I plant summer crops earlier than my zone (6a) because I want to try to get vegetables in time for the Farmers Market in June. It’s my business and I want to start selling and bringing income in as soon as I can.

Of course, with doing that, I’m at a high risk for a late frost. Late frosts are inevitable in Kansas. So is hail, high winds, tornadoes and snow in July. You just never know what is going to happen.

We rely heavily on weather forecasts here. While they aren’t ALWAYS right, they help to prepare us. That’s all we can do. Prepare.

So, let me give you some tips for preparing for a frost.

Calculate Forecast Temperature to Decide Blanketed Layers.

How much cover do you need? Well, check this out. Each layer of row cover or high tunnel plastic will give 5 degrees of protection for frost sensitive plants.

Always provide frost protection to above 41 degrees F.

So, if forecast is 35 degrees F, you need 2 layers. If 26 degrees, you need 3 layers to provide protection to above 41 degrees.

Saturate the Ground with Moisture

Some expert growers like to saturate the ground with lots of irrigation before covering. Do not wet leaves or covers.

It’s recommended to do this in case you have a prolonged danger of frost and have to keep your plants covered long term. You definitely want to make sure that your plants have plenty of moisture.

Covering Your Plants to Protect Your Vegetable Gardens from Frost

If you’ve already supported your tomatoes or peppers, remove all supports. Carefully lay the plants flat on the ground. Tuck the growing point under the plant next to it.

Cover the growing point on peppers and eggplants with a styrofoam cup to prevent damage. This is because the growth point is the most critical. If fine, the plant will continue to grow even if the leaves are killed from the frost.

All warm season summer crops, such tomatoes, zucchini and summer squash need to be well covered. They will lose leaves but will recover as the growth point is in the center.

Removing the Covers

Do not remove covers if it’s anything but warm and overcast. Bright sun will scald and dry out leaves before the plant gets it’s water flowing. It’s better to leave everything covered for a day or two than pull too soon.

Let’s talk about all the different options you can use for covers.

Different Options for Covers

There’s lots of options for covers. The most common option, of course is clear plastic row cover. You could also use bed sheets and blankets.

If you use the floating row covers, you’ll want to either use buckets or barrels underneath or invest in some plastic hoops for row cover support. This is to keep the covering from weighting down your plants.

how to protect your vegetable garden from frost

You Can Keep Your Plants Alive and Well Through a Frost

While there’s many things about gardening we can’t control, You can definitely save your warm season crops from a frost by covering them.

I hope this post has helped you to make decisions about protecting your plants from a frost.


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