Sunday, September 30, 2012

Frost is inevitable here in Michigan

As summer fades away and the nights get cooler, frost will soon arrive. The only thing that gardeners can do is prolong the life of plants for awhile.Weather forecasters have not predicted frost for the upcoming week.
Some plants don't mind frost. Brussel sprouts actually need it, in order for the sprouts to sweeten up.

Protecting plants from frost
There are things you can do, to protect plants from frost. Rather than cover with your best blanket, try watering before nightfall (the water vapor will keep the air a little warmer) or water before the sun comes up in the morning. You need to water plants before the sun shines on them. Many plants will die a wilting death if the sun shines on them after a hard frost. I've lost pepper and tomato plants in the past along with the peppers and tomatoes that I had not picked.
I leave peppers and tomatoes on the vine as long as possible, so they stay alive and don't start decomposing in the house. They will continue to ripen until it gets too cold. Most vegetables have actually stopped growing or producing new fruit, by this time of year, except for greens.
Tomato cages covered with newspapers can provide a make-shift shelter. Then remove the papers after the sun comes up.

Favorable conditions for frost
Frost is sure to happen when the conditions are right: when the temperature falls below 32 degrees F., there is no breeze and there are no clouds. Big orchards use giant fans, which circulate air, keeping the frost from setting in.
Container plants are the most vulnerable to frost. If you can't move them to shelter, try to cover them.
Although the best time of year for gardeners is passing by, there are still indoor plants and sprouting on the kitchen counter. Beyond that, in our hopes and dreams, there's planning the perfect garden for next spring.

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