Ways to Protect Your Plants From a Sudden Frost
An unexpected freeze in spring or fall can quickly devastate your garden.
Early in the growing season, it is especially destructive for tender seedlings that are too fragile to survive sudden dips in temperature.
Even in autumn, when we’re trying to get as much food harvested as possible, it can force more established plants to become dormant and non-productive.
What is Frost?
Frost is defined as a thin layer of ice that forms when water vapor changes from a gas to a solid as it is exposed to temperatures below the freezing point.
Frost injures plants when water in the plant cells turn into ice crystals, which disrupts the movement of fluids and damages plant tissues.
A light frost of between 28°F to 32°F won’t wreak as much havoc on plants as a hard frost below 28°F will.
It’s important to note that some veggies actually taste better after a frost. Here’s ten that do.
When to Expect Frost?
While keeping an eye on the weather forecast goes hand in hand with gardening, there are a few environmental conditions that will typically lead to a frost.
Cloudy nights help insulate the earth from sudden swings in temperature, but clear skies have a cooling effect that allows heat to escape into the atmosphere.
Calm conditions with little wind are more likely to reach a freezing point since very low air movement means warmer currents are not being distributed over the ground.
Clearly temperature is a major factor for frost, especially when there is moisture in the air (during foggy conditions or when dew is formed overnight) which promotes ice crystal formation.