Don’t Lose Your Precious Plants to Frost

Using frost cloth or an anti-transpirant can mean the difference between life and death this time of year. Maybe you’re trying to squeeze in (and keep the bunnies away from) some lettuce before the really bad weather sets in. Or maybe that prized plant will only take temperatures down to 35 degrees. Whatever the case, having a good supply of frost cloth (also sometimes called a ‘row cover’) or Cloud Cover is a must.

FROST CLOTH:

Our Frost Protection Blanket optios is “N-Sulate” from DeWitt. It comes in 12’ x 10’ and is medium weight. It’s UV treated, washable and reusable. Offering protection for flowering annuals, bedding plants, vegetables, and more.

So, what are the advantages of using a frost cloth instead of a plain old blanket or plastic sheet? Most importantly, frost cloth allows both light and water to penetrate, instead of the fabric just getting soaking wet and heavy. Also, frost cloth is more breathable. If temperatures warm up during the day following the cold and you’ve left the cloth on, chances are your plants won’t get cooked, as opposed to what could happen with plastic or cotton sheeting.

While you can just ‘float’ the row cover directly on top of plants, the best setup is to install hoops or some other support for the frost cloth, making sure it is tall enough to not allow the cloth to touch the plants. Then, drape the cloth over the support and secure it on all sides and at the base, so that the warmth of the ground rises and is trapped around the plants. Office supply-type binder clips, spring clamps, and u-pins all work well for securing the cloth to your chosen support and to the ground

ANTI-TRANSPIRANT:

Cloud Cover by Easy Gardener is a clear, flexible polymer coating that holds moisture in plants and reduces stress caused by temperature extremes, transplant shock and dry environment. We find that treated frost tender plants have about 3 to 5 degrees more frost resistance than untreated plants. In many cases, this is enough difference to allow marginal plants to survive in years they may not if left untreated. It does not leave a sticky residue.

TIMING:

Timing is important, too. If you know Jack Frost is coming, give your plants a good drink of water and get them covered before sunset to trap the most available warmth.

 

 
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