Ok. Do you want the good news or the bad news first? Good news is that the Dallas Cowboys actually won a playoff game today and we will have meaningful professional football around here for at least another week. The bad new is that holidays are over and it's back to work and school for most.
Unless you spent the day in your basement watching the Cowboy game you probably ventured outside for at least a moment felt a cold, stiff breeze and the temperature was falling. Its winter time again and the cold is here. The weather forecast for the week is not going to get much better either with overnight lows dipping down near 20 degrees so let's also remember to provide a little frost protection for our plants too. Here is the weather forecast for the next few days.
It's time to pull out or provide the frost cloths for your plants and cool-season flowers. Here are a few options recommended to provide a little protection for your garden. First and most obvious idea for container plants would be to move them indoors to a porch, garage or covered patio for added protection. Secondly is to use a frost cloth over the top to provide a little warmth as well. You have probably seen this used widely in the nursery industry, on golf courses to protect the putting greens and you have likely seen it around your neighborhood or local shopping centers. Here is a photo of it being used in a nursery. You can order below from Amazon or likely find it on hand at your local garden shop or home improvement store.
The typical frost cloth used by nurseries and landscape professionals in this area is a lightweight, breathable fabric. This fabric, also called 'Row Cover' is preferred to other fabrics because it is lightweight and won't damage the plants and for the fact that it breathes which allows some water and air to pass through it. This also makes it useful in the summer season where it can also be used for insect protection and to provide shade for sun protection.
There are also additional ideas and methods that will also help provide frost protection for plants that range from the simple and DIY methods to the elaborate and more expensive methods such as cold covers and greenhouses. We have created a new board on Pinterest where you can see several of these ideas and learn more.
How not to protect your plants from cold & frost? Well there are several ways that may do more good than harm. A couple of which are plastic or actual blankets and sheets. Now if you are in a pinch or are out of time or material these may be a temporary solution, but not one you want to use for long periods. These materials typically don't handle the water well and will often weigh down your plants when wet and may also not allow water and air to pass through, thus trapping your plants and making it even colder on them. Another self-inflicting practice is not to monitor your irrigation controls. Check your system timers or add a freeze sensor to avoid adding any unnecessary water to your garden.
Just a few tips to give your garden a little protection through the winter and make sure its ready to go for the spring and summer.