Protect your flowers and plants from the first frost to enjoy health benefits of gardening longer
An early frost can mean a sudden end to the growing season. But there are ways to protect plants from dipping temperatures. In this episode of "Health Fusion," Viv Williams has tips on how to cover your flowers and vegetables so you can enjoy the health benefits of gardening longer into the fall season.
ROCHESTER — An early first frost can wipe out a garden of blooms or vegetables. Sometimes that initial hit is followed by weeks of warmth, so it can be worth it to cover plants to try and extend the season.
You don't need fancy stuff, just lightweight bed sheets, towels or drop cloths and a bunch of clothespins. Some say plastic is not ideal, but I opted for long rolls of very lightweight plastic drop cloths in order to cover many rows of pants. You can also use frost fabric found at some garden centers. The University of Minnesota Extension website has information on various types of frost prevention covers, including row covers, tents and cold frames.
How to cover plants to protect them from an early frost:
- Before you cover your flowers, water them. Moist soil retains heat more effectively than dry soil.
- Next, try not to let the plastic or fabric touch the plants when you're covering them. Creating space between the flowers and the cover material prevents moisture build-up and the weight of the fabric from causing damage. The idea is to trap warm air in and to keep the cold air out.
- If you have potted plants, you can take them inside. If they're too heavy to safely move, cover them too.
The next morning, gently uncover your plants. There's no guarantee that your frost protection method will work. But when you live where the growing season is short, trying to extend it a little longer is definitely worth the effort.
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