6 Ways to Protect Your Garden From Frost - Backyard Boss
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6 Ways to Protect Your Garden From Frost

Gardening is all about preparing for the next season and making sure the conditions are just right so your plants don’t die off unexpectedly. With cold weather approaching, it’s time to start prepping for the winter months and thinking about how to stop frost in its path.

Frost loves to wreak havoc on gardens which is why it’s so important to get all your planting done now. While your beautiful plants are tucked safely in the ground or in pots, you should take extra precautions. Luckily, there are several ways to protect your garden from the harsh winter cold.

Most of these solutions are easy to DIY and some are cheaper than others, but taking these extra steps will benefit your garden in the long run.

Use a Cold Frame

Cold Frame On Raised Bed
Image credits: Bernadette Kaufmann via Pixabay

Cold frames are small, portable structures that fit over the top of your plants and provide shelter from some of the more dangerous winter weather elements. Cold frames are built from wood, aluminum or plastic, and usually have an open bottom so they can be placed right on top of a section of your garden. Because of their portability, they can be removed and stored when the weather gets warm again.

A cold frame is also a great way to harden off seedlings and get them prepared for exposure to harsher outdoor conditions. If you have plants that you’ve sprouted indoors and want to get them ready to be planted outside, a cold frame is a great way to do this.

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Spread Mulch

gardener mulching flower bed with pine tree bark mulch
Image credits: ronstik via Canva

Mulch is an incredibly useful thing to have for your backyard garden, no matter what kind of weather you’re experiencing. It’s versatile and can be made up of a wide variety of materials that you may have lying around your house like straw or grass clippings. One of the best things about mulch is that it can keep your plants warm throughout the winter months.

When mulch is spread over the roots of your plants, it’ll begin to break down. This process generates small amounts of heat, which is then transferred to the surrounding soil. The bulk of the mulch will then trap this warmth and keep the plants insulated from frost and extreme weather.

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Spray Plants With Anti-Transpirant

Treatment of affected rose plants with fungicides from a spray gun
Image credits: Medvedeva Oxana via Shutterstock

Anti-transpirants are sprays that help protect plants from frost and other damage due to cold weather. Anti-transpirants work by blocking the stomatal opening of the plant and preventing frost from getting inside the cellular structure. One of the benefits of this type of spray is it will not prevent the uptake of C02, so your plants will still be able to breathe even though they are coated.

It should be noted that anti-transpirants will only protect plants if they’re exposed to a light frost. If you’re expecting temperatures of around 25 degrees Fahrenheit or more, this spray should be sufficient. If it’s going to get colder than that, other protective measures should be taken.

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Cluster Plants

Houseplants
Image credits: Dave Walsh via Canva

One of the best ways to keep your plants warm is to cluster them together in a tight formation. If they’re contained in individual pots, this is a great way to help them survive a cold period. You can bring your potted plants inside or move them closer to the exterior of the house so they can get some much  needed warmth.

Clustering works due to the humidity that’s expelled from each plant creating a barrier that keeps frost away. This humidity is reabsorbed into each plant and will help protect them from the cold.

Grow Lights

Indoor Kale Garden under grow lights
Image credits: Permaculture Apartment Images via Canva

If you’re extremely concerned about your plants getting frosted over, try grow lights —  a 100-watt light bulb is a good solution. Wiring up lights over the area you want to keep warm requires a little extra planning and execution, but could be well worth it.

A 100-watt incandescent bulb will generate about 90 watts worth of heat that can be distributed over your plants during the winter months. If you have several rows of plants that you want to keep warm, a collection of these bulbs might be a good idea. Just be sure that they’re not arranged too closely. Twelve inches of distance is usually sufficient for the heat to get to the plants.

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Water Before a Cold Snap

Unrecognisable man watering flower bed using watering can. Gardening hobby concept. Flower garden image with lens flare.
Image credit: Audio und werbung via Shutterstock

It may seem like the opposite of what you should be doing, but watering your garden before a cold period offers great protection from frost. Plants that are dry are much more susceptible to frost and freezing over since they’re more likely to take in the cold air moisture. Wet soil also acts as an efficient insulator.

Be sure that you only water the soil around the plants and not the plants themselves. Doing this the day before a cold snap will keep the plants from absorbing frost and damaging their cells.

Beat The Frost

Knowing that you have done everything you can to protect your plants is a good way to get some peace of mind during cold weather. If possible, try a combination of these methods to ensure the greatest amount of protection. The better insulated your garden is, the more likely it will be to survive the winter.

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