While worms and slugs and even pesky critters can and will do extensive damage when they pay us a visit, nothing will wipe out a garden faster than an unexpected frost or a dip down into freezing temperatures when you aren’t prepared.
Here are The Veggies That You Have To Keep An Eye On When Temperatures Drop
- any newly planted tender seedlings
- tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash, cucumber
- basil, mint, warm season herbs
I put together a quick guide to have on hand for those chilly nights to see what needs to be done in the garden with all the different veggie we grow! Click HERE to grab the guide. Save this frost guide to help you remember how to handle the dropping temperatures this season, and begin making preparations for covering them now, not the day of the freeze warning. With a first frost date usually falling in late November for most of South Louisiana, we need to get a plan to protect our hard work.
Remove Summer Veggies
If you have veggies from the summer still growing strong in your garden, it is time to remove them. Their fruit will be mushy if there is a frost, whether they are covered or not, so don’t give them any more time. Instead, plant something for the cool season in their place where your production will be so much more. Below are some ideas!
How To Protect The Garden From A Frost
The most uniform way to protect your vegetables from a frost is to cover them. Your brassicas, leafy greens, and root vegetables are all frost tolerant, so no need to worry about them, but the tender seedlings and newly planted transplants should be protected on those frosty nights.
If you garden using the wild child method, your beds are very diverse and have a symphony of veggies, herbs, amd flowers all growing together. Because of that, covering the entire bed will be the most effective way to protect your produce.
Use a lightweight cloth like this, or just plan to cover the entire bed with a bed sheet. Sleeping bags work well too. This may not be the most beautiful way to protect the babies, but it will work.
Here are 3 things to remember:
First, when using a sheet you will have to uncover the garden the following morning to allow them to get sunlight. Too long under the sheet and you will have other problems aside from the frost.
Second, the sheets cannot touch the plants, so you must carefully place items in the garden that will give some height to the beds and keep the sheets from touching the leaves. I recommend doing this by place inverted pots or baskets into the garden bed, over some of the tallest plants and then draping the sheet over the bed.
Third, secure the sheets! Frosty nights often begin by windy afternoons. As you are tucking in the garden before dark, remember to secure the sheets to prevent them from flying away and exposing your babies underneath. This can be done with any heavy object you can find.
If this seems to be a little bit tacky, I can totally see why, there are other, more tidy, options as well. They cost a little more than the free sheets in your linen closet, and they are less work, but they look a whole lot better.
Use Frost Tunnels
Frost tunnels are an investment, but they are easier to work with, and they look a whole lot better during the cold months. One other benefit is that you don’t have to rush out to uncover each morning. In fact, they can remain in place for the duration of the frosty temps and simply be removed once the weather warms. This is a great alternative to bed sheets and a first choice of many of the clients I work with.
I hope this has been helpful to you. While there is no easy answer to a frosty night protection measure, now is the time to get set up for success. Your plants will thank you by continuing to grow and thrive, even when the conditions make it less than ideal.