If you are an avid gardener you have probably started seeing the fruits of your labors in the past few weeks. Garden crops yield most of their bounty at this time of year. However, as the temperature shifted this year with colder, rainy weather lasting long into June and warmer temperatures during the day extending well into September, it is very feasible to have your crop’s growing season extended. The trick is to keep your tender plants protected from the colder temperatures that can be experienced in late fall when the days are still warm but night-time temperatures can dip below freezing. Luckily there are several tried-and-tested very easy ways to keep your plants safe from drastic temperature dips.
Cover up! The simplest way of keeping your plants safe from frost is to cover them with a light-weight material. Just build a cursory frame around your plant – it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, even a wooden stake stuck into the ground is enough – and drape it with newpaper, a bed sheet or any other material you have. It will keep frost off your plants at night. Just be sure to remove the covering during the day so that they plants can again breathe and absorb the heat of the day.
Water well! Watering your plants before sundown will keep the ground moist and this moisture will release slowly into the air during the night around your plants, which will increase the air temperature slightly.
Cloche! Using a cloche (large glass or plastic bell) is another good way to protect plants from frost. It is similar to a cover up, but provides even greater protection for sensitive plants.
Heat traps! Another effective way of keeping the temperature around your plant higher during a frost is to paint milk jugs black, fill them with water and place them in between the plants during the day. The sun will warm the water up and as water retains heat longer than soil, it will release this heat and moisture slowly during the night.
Fan! Lastly, since any kind of air will prevent frost from settling on the ground, you can simulate this air by using a fan set on gentle to create a constant breeze through the night. The only thing you have to worry about is making sure that the cords and plugs are properly covered up and insulated from water to prevent short circuits and fires.
If you have container plants, then the easiest way to keep them safe is to move them indoors at night. If you don’t have space to do this, then burying the bases in soil is another option.
With very little effort you can extend your garden’s growing season and ensure delicious, organic for a few weeks longer!