Question of the Week
browse by: questions
For vegetable crops: To extend your harvest season, you can use rowcover—a spun polyester product—or old blankets and sheets. It’s best to provide some type of support so you don’t crush your plants. The covering will hold in radiating soil heat. You can do this now to protect late-blooming tomatoes and peppers, and in freezes to protect your winter vegetables.
For perennials that are marginally hardy: Cut them back to the ground when frost kills the top growth. Mulch the base of the plant well. That’ll prevent a real significant temperature drop right around the crown of the plant. Since the plant rejuvenates from the roots, that’s what you want to protect.
If you want to wrap a plant, like a possibly-tender evergreen or citrus plant, remember that plants don’t produce heat. The soil does. So, wrapping a plant up like a landscape lollipop doesn’t do any good at all, except maybe to block some of the wind.
Really, it’s better to drape the cover over and let it extend to the ground. Secure it with boards, bricks, ropes or plant stakes. The heat the rises from the soil is quite significant.
You can add a light bulb or two underneath—like the Christmas tree lights that put of heat—you can provide a few more degrees of protection for something like a citrus plant or a fig tree on a very, very cold night.