How to Protect Your Plants from Frost

Mother nature is always keeping us on our toes. Many use Derby Day as a benchmark date for planting their vegetables for the spring, but in true Ohio Valley weather fashion, we're expecting a late frost. 

Protect plants from late frost

What do you need to do to protect your plants from a late frost or freeze? It's pretty easy but can be time consuming depending on the size of your garden. New leaf growth and buds can be damaged, so covering your plants with light cloth, like a sheet is all you need, or go the extra mile and purchase row cover cloth but you likely won't be using this again any time soon. Some people even use plastic bags to cover over plants. Make them like a hot air balloon over your buds and blooms and tie off at the stem. Just note for the future that if we were expecting snow or ice, you'd want to prop up that cloth with stakes or some kind of support so that the extra weight doesn't hurt the plant even more. You don't want the sheeting or plastic to touch the plant and cause further harm. 

If your plants or vegetables are still in containers and can be moved, we recommend bringing them into the garage or inside your home. Don't have a garage and not willing to trust your pets with your plants? If it's just a few, consider putting them in the trunk of your car. Anything to keep the moisture off the leaves. 

We just planted our raised beds and will be using sheeting to cover. Additionally we plan to cover our peonies and hasta. 

Kelly Smith Trimble writes: 

You can also get ahead of the game with a few best practices that will keep plants strong through the hard times, so that even if a late frost damages a few buds, the plant itself will weather the ... weather.

1. Lay On the Mulch.

Mulch improves drainage and protects plant roots, acting almost like insulation. It's really the unsung hero of the garden and landscape, keeping roots and soil warmer in cold weather and cooler in hot weather.  

2. Keep Plants Watered. 

A well-watered plant is a stronger plant. Plus, moist soil provides more warmth than dry soil, so even as air temps dip, your soil could stay a little warmer.

3. Water at the Roots. 

This is true in all seasons. Watering overhead can cause disease problems as leaves stay wet for too long and allow funguses to grow. Wet leaves and fruits can also freeze. So just keep that hose close to ground level.

If you have other suggestions how to keep your plants and vegetables safe from frost, share them in the comments!

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