Morning frost may look magical, but it can be a gardener’s worst enemy in winter. Failing to protect your plants against frost could lead to them freezing and dying as a result. Here are just a few ways to protect plants from frost and help your plants to thrive during the winter months.
5 Smart Ways to Protect Your Plants From Frost Damage
Use a greenhouse
A greenhouse is the best defense against frost. Not only will it protect your plants against frost, but it will also protect them against many other winter issues such as heavy rain, snow, and wind. There are lots of options when it comes to different types of greenhouses. You can buy your own greenhouse kit and set it up in your garden. Alternatively, you can design and build your own greenhouse from scratch, either using contractors or your own handy skills. You could also try looking into residential greenhouses for sale. Greenhouses allow you to grow many plants over the winter with little looking after, although you will have to remember to keep them watered.
Cover your plants at night
Another option could be to use a temporary form of cover at night when frost is most likely to set in. Bell jars are a popular option for keeping individual plants covered up and protected from frost.
You can also try using frost blankets. These are see-through blankets that can cover up multiple plants at once while letting in light and air (it’s possible to use these as a permanent option on some plants). Burlap makes a great alternative, as well!
Raise your beds
The lower to ground level a plant is, the more susceptible it is to frost damage. Building raised beds can help to reduce frost and could allow you to grow plants without covering them up. Another advantage of raised beds is that they tend to drain water more easily. For instance, after a heavy shower of rain, the soil is less likely to get waterlogged. And that can further encourage your plants to grow healthily.
Harden off seedlings
When your plants are just seedlings, it’s possible to get them acclimatized to the colder temperatures by gradually exposing them to the cold. This can make them less susceptible to frost damage. Your seedlings should be kept indoors at night; however, you can try putting them outside in their pots on a cold day in a location that’s sheltered from the wind and rain to get them used to the winter chill.
Water your plants the night before a frost
Frost damage is actually more likely to occur when the soil is dry. That’s because the soil is already hard, it freezes more easily. Watering the soil the night before a frost can reduce the likeliness of the earth freezing while also providing some warmth through moisture evaporation.
The Takeaway: Plant, But Protect Your Seedlings from Frost
If you think you are safe to plant, go for it. However, keep a plan B ready. You need a back up plan because of the “just in case” situation of a late-season frost. Once you have that protection from frost in mind, you will feel more confident in your cool weather gardening.