Friday, December 3, 2010

When Frost Threatens

After reading all the indicators, you determine that frost may hit your garden tonight. What can you do?

Cover plants to retain warmth and moisture, and to protect them from drying winds. Use old sheets or blankets, newspapers, pine branches, straw, inverted flowerpots, or water-filled cloches. The more opaque the cover is, the better it protects the plants. Plastic, surprisingly, does not hold heat well. Because Earth starts cooling down before sunset, get the covers on early. And be sure to cover each plant entirely.

Protect lettuce, arugula, chard, beets, and mustard from the wind and they will survive near-freezing temperatures.

Mulch carrots and other root crops well before a frost to keep the ground from freezing hard; then harvest when ready.

Wave the white flag on truly tender plants. Tender annual flowers (such as impatiens, gomphrena, and zinnias) and edibles (such as basil, melons, and corn) will not endure frost.

Dig up tomato plants and hang the vines (with unripened fruit attached) inside a garage or shed. If you keep them warmer than about 60°F, they will ripen.

Transplant peppers into pots and bring them inside to a brightly lit room. Remove the unripe peppers and cut back the stems when you transplant them. Keep them moist through the winter and then replant them the following spring.

Article from Organic Gardening on line

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