Frost, especially an untimely one, catches even the most well-versed plant dealers unawares. Majority of the time, it has been observed, that plants die not just due to the chilling conditions but due to the thawing effect. The fluctuation in their temperature causes the plant to sustain irrevocable damage, that leads to weakening of the roots, resulting in the plants dying. Alternative ways to protect your plants, are explained in this section.
Row covers are a great bargain for protecting your plants against frost. Row covers may be plastic sheets or fabric drapes that can be dropped over the topmost portion of the plant. They are generally floating over the plants. They rise simultaneously with your crop growing, thereby your plants not feeling claustrophobic inside the covers. Fabric row covers are preferred over plastic sheets or polyethylene as they are lightweight and protect plants from insect infestation and frost. Nevertheless, the heavier ones provide better insulation, serving to be the virtual moisture trappers during winter.
Cozies for your foliage is another brilliant way to protect your plants from frost threats. All you have to do is to slide the cozy through the length of the plant and tie it at the bottom. Highly suitable for potted plants, cozies retain the moisture and provide the much-required insulation. Fasten it at the posterior portion of the pot for a secure and sturdy hold during adverse weather conditions.
A garden cloche is what you can resort to, in order to save your seedlings from the wrath of frost. A garden cloche, although passe in perception, is still preferred as one of the methods to protect plants. They are an effective alternative to keep the temperature under control, thereby keeping the condition warm and bearable for the plant to sustain. It is easy to install and equally easy to remove. Tent, tunnel, barn and bell-shaped cloches lock moisture and prevent the crop from freezing. However, during heavy frost, it is advisable to avoid the use of cloches as they may be unable to provide the required protection.
Cold frames are another alternative to fighting frost. Built and used predominantly to harden the seedlings, cold frames prove helpful in protecting your plants and elongating their growth tenure. Make sure that you secure the frame thoroughly so that the polyethylene sheets do not fly off due to hefty winds.
Well, a simple and organic alternative to covering plants to fight frost. Mulching protects the roots of tender shrubs and flowerbeds from the rapid freeze and thaw process. Mulch could be a homespun produce consisting rotten vegetable waste, dry leaves, forming a compost to spread over the plants. The insulation that the mulch provides, helps the roots to retain moisture and avert the damage. Evergreen plants benefit from this trick practiced in winter gardening, where the mulch, spread over the soil, aids the plant in remaining free of frost.
Fleece covered frames are one among the best bets in protecting plants. A fleece frame is made with dry leaves punched between the alternating gaps in chicken wire mesh. This cover protects plants when frost is at its best. A commercially available fleece, is manufactured with polypropylene fibers that have an innate property to soak in the frost, thereby not allowing the freezing effect to penetrate through, deep into the roots. The fleece shield is constructed in a manner that allows light, water and air to seep through thus allowing the plants to breathe.
Invert a bucket and poke a few holes through its bottom. Placing the bucket over the plant will protect it from heavy winds, however inviting light and retaining insulation for the soil to keep warm through the night.
Tender plants must always be potted so that they can be shifted indoor, during frost-filled nights. This will allow them to retain moisture, which will thus prevent drying of shoots and leaves.
You need to remember, irrespective of the method you choose to apply, that the covering or the protection should be removed in the morning. If they are left unattended, it can lead to over insulation and overheating of the plant. Fresh air and light are garnered and appreciated by garden greens and blooms, once the frost threat has lapsed!