Preparing for the first frost can help prevent the unnecessary loss of your fall garden. Don’t let the first cold morning catch you by surprise. Follow Commercial Bag & Supply’s guide to prepare your garden for the first frost, and you can protect your flowers and autumn crops.
How to Prepare your Garden for the First Frost
-Cover your plants with a nursery cover before the sun sets. This will help retain heat underneath the cover and prevent frost from affecting your plants.
-If you use a plastic cover to retain heat, make sure to remove it in the morning as it might “cook” the plants by retaining too much heat in the daytime.
-If you’re growing cucumbers, cover them with newspapers. You can also use old bed sheets or straw since they are low-growing.
-Use paper grocery bags or trash bags to cover caged tomatoes, peppers, or eggplants.
-Vegetables that don’t need to be covered include cabbage, Chinese cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower.
-Vegetables that can handle some frost include chives, peas, carrots, lettuce, and spinach.
-When a freeze is forecast, bring potted plants and flowers inside.
-Spread 2-2.5 inches of mulch around rock garden plants, perennials, alpine, strawberry, or plants with shallow roots after the soil has frozen. This added mulch will help protect your plant roots by preventing the soil from freezing.
After the First Freeze
If you’ve already experienced the first freeze, not all hope is lost. You’ll know when your plants have been damaged by a frost if the leaves have turned dark brown or black, or if they appear shriveled or look water-soaked. You can also protect plants from impending frost damage by watering them. This seems somewhat contradictory, but the water will help to maintain the internal temperatures of your plants above freezing.
No matter the month, there’s always something you can do in the garden. Follow Commercial Bag and Supply’s October Gardening Guide for simple tasks to complete that ensure the beauty of your garden come spring.
October Gardening Guide for Vegetables
- Finish harvesting beans and peas by cutting the plant away at ground level.
- Harvest all of your squash and pumpkins before the first frost.
- Leave the root of your harvested cabbages in the ground and make a cut across the stem to encourage a bloom of smaller leaves.
- If you have any green peppers or tomatoes, you can take them inside and hang them upside down to ripen.
- Wrap your autumn cauliflower heads in their outer leaves and secure with string to protect from frost.
- Plant autumn garlic bulbs and autumn onion sets for cropping next summer.
October Gardening Guide for Flowers
- Plant tulip, Allium, and daffodil bulbs for a beautiful spring bloom.
- If you’ve grown any perennials or biennials from seed, plant them now.
- Plant barefoot ornamental shrubs and trees. October is also a great time to move shrubs and trees, or plant hedges.
- Plant wallflowers, winter pansies, primulas, and bellis for a bright spring bedding.
- Prune rambling and climbing roses once they’ve bloomed. Tie in the stems to prevent any damage from autumn winds.
- Prevent diseases like black spot by cleaning up fallen rose leaves. Don’t compost these leaves.
- You can either leave the dead foliage of perennial plants for over-wintering wildlife, or cut them back.
- After you’ve cleaned up your garden, mulching with leaf mold, bark chips, spent mushroom compost, or well rotted manure will insulate your plants’ roots for the winter while keeping weed growth in check.
Shop for custom landscape fabric to complete your October gardening tasks, or contact Commercial Bag & Supply for your next custom textile order.