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How to protect your garden from frost

April Demes
Photography by
Niki Jabbour

Shield your precious plants from the harmful effects of a sudden, forecasted frost

Protecting your garden in the fall
At the end of the growing season, your concern about frost is usually about stretching out the harvest from food plants, or keeping those baskets on the front porch looking good until after your dinner party.
Moving containers into a shed or garage is usually enough to protect them. There are now plant stands on castors available to make this task more manageable, or you can wrap them up—pot and all—in row cover or burlap.

Since your plants will generally be much larger now than in the spring, pieces of fabric row cover are your best bet for quick cover-ups. Feel free to break out the bedsheets again. But Niki goes back to the same hoop tunnels she uses in the spring. “In autumn, the mini hoop tunnel will extend your season for dozens of cool- and cold-tolerant crops, many of which can then be enjoyed all winter long,” she says. Veggies like kale, parsnips, leeks and carrots are actually improved by a light frost; this is when they gain their best flavour.

“The most basic tool in my garden shed is the row cover and I would recommend it to any gardener who wants to extend their season in spring or autumn,” says Niki. “Depending on the weight, it offers at least a few degrees of frost protection and is very inexpensive.” The next step for those who wish to outsmart Jack Frost? A cold frame. “It is such an incredibly useful structure that is not difficult to construct.”


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