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Protecting Plants from Frost

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Protecting Plants from Frost

Postby VegGardener » Sep 14, 2013 10:32 am

I've been doing summer gardening growing some veg (tomatoes, long squash, papers, cucumbers, egg plants, few greens etc) for about 3-4 years. Living in the greater Toronto area, we have a very short summer and just about the time my garden starts producing heavily, its all done due to frost.

In the past I haven't done anything to protect the plants from frost but I've been thinking about some protection to see if I can get couple of more weeks out of my garden. The question is, when is the right time to cover the plants. In my area, temp is around 8C at night and in some nights it drops as low as 6C. But temp is heavily fluctuating and most of the time it stays above 10C at night. In the coming week, most of the nights will be above 10C with an exception of Tuesday being 6C at night. Is it a good time to start covering up the plants? How low the temperature has to go before I cover them up?

I have some tarps and old bedsheets that I can use. For vines like long squash, is it enough to cover the the climbing parts or should I protect the root also?

I know I cannot protect them when the temp is permanently below certain point but for now when the temp is fluctuating so much, I just like to protect them till they get to a stable low position.

Any insight to that will be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Protecting Plants from Frost

Postby Countryboy » Sep 14, 2013 3:27 pm

Your garden plants can handle anything except frost. And that will kill only certain plants. Brassicas and some others are impervious even to light frosts.

U won't really need to cover plants 'til they are calling for frost... probably sometime in October in the GTA. Later in the city proper.

Canvas is a little heavy maybe... u don't want to crush the plants. Anything that will 'break' the cold air getting at the leaves is fine. Big sheets of plastic, or your bed sheets, work well. Block out that cold and the plants under the cover will be kept warm simply by the above zero ground temperature.
Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.
.....Ralph Waldo Emmerson....

Frank . . ON5a
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Re: Protecting Plants from Frost

Postby VegGardener » Sep 14, 2013 5:33 pm

thanks for your reply. best wishes
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Re: Protecting Plants from Frost

Postby rosegardenzoe » Oct 24, 2013 3:06 pm

I am a bit confused :)
If you are talking about veggie garden and protecting it from frost , then you can use burlap. Well, weather cooperating you are only stretching the life by 2 more weeks. These are all annuals and eventually you have to pull them out and prepare your garden for next spring. Do you have any perennial veggie ? I live in eastern Ontario and this year my bell peppers started to flower end of September. Maybe I shouldn't have pulled it and as you said maybe we can get more out of them by protecting it from frost.
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Re: Protecting Plants from Frost

Postby IrasaiBradley » Jan 06, 2014 1:39 am

following are the defnsive measures that will surely help you-

• Wet soil holds heat better than dry soil, protecting roots and warming air near the soil.
• Bed sheets, drop cloths, blankets and plastic sheets make suitable covers for vulnerable plants. Use stakes to keep material, especially plastic, from touching foliage.
• Remove the covering when temperatures rise the next day.
• For a short cold period, low plantings can be covered with mulch, such as straw or leaf mold. Remove once the danger of frost has passed.
• Place a 100-watt lamp designed for outdoor use in the interior of a small tree. It can emit enough warmth to reduce frost damage. Holiday lights (not the LED type) serve a similar function, but be sure they don’t touch any covering materials.
• Spray an anti-transpirant, available at your local nursery, on the foliage of cold-sensitive plants to seal in moisture. One application can protect up to three months by coating the leaves with an invisible polymer film.
• Cluster container plants close together and, if possible, in a sheltered spot close to the house.

All the best.
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