Updated: May 2
Gardening in the zone 3 climate requires a close eye on spring and fall temperatures and a plan for when the unavoidable early and late frost hits. Where I live, I have seen frost damage my spring plants as late as the middle of June. If pants are lost this does not leave enough time for most varieties of vegetables to start over.
5 Ways To Protect Your Garden Plants From Frost
1. Check the expected low temperatures in your area often. - When you see anything within two degrees of freezing, take measures to protect them.
2. Water well late in the afternoon. - Water holds heat and well watered plants are less vulnerable to frost.
3. Cover your plants with large pots. - Use large plastic plant pots to place over your plants. Another idea is gallon milk jugs with the bottom cut out and placed over your plants. Try to be careful not to let any of the leaves be touching the plastic.
4. Cover your plants with blankets or sheets. - If you have already done step 3, the plastic pots will protect the blanket from crushing your plants. Other options for holding blankets off plants are tomato cages or garden stakes. Don't forget to take the blankets off in the morning once the low temperatures have passed.
5. Bring plants in pots indoors - If your plants are in a container you are able to move, bring them inside to your house or garage.
Some also suggest placing a bottle of warm water close to your plants. I have not done this myself as the above measures have always been enough, but if you have plants you are particularly worried about, this extra measure may be beneficial.
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What Garden Plants are Least Susceptible to Frost?
Not all your garden vegetables will be harmed by a light frost (0°C to -3°C or 32 to 25 F temperatures). Plants that can withstand a light frost include:
If the above plants were started indoors and transplanted to your garden I would suggest covering them to be on the safe side. If they have grown from seed in your garden they will most likely be fine during a light frost.
What Garden Plants are Most Susceptible to Frost?
These plants are tender and will need to be covered for the duration of the frost risk.
Here is a thermometer from Amazon that will record high and low temperatures. I find this thermometer especially useful in my greenhouse! You can reset the high and low arrows as often as you would like. This cover is useful not only for frost but for keeping bugs off veggies like cabbage and kale.