Frost and freeze can cause terrible damage to your crops, not to mention it has you feeling anxious about your crops the entire night. Luckily, there’s a way to protect your crops from falling victim to frost or freeze, but first, we’ll have a lesson in what these phenomena are in the first place.
Frost and Freeze
Freeze is what happens when the temperature in the environment is below water’s freezing point, which is 32 o F. Obviously, the water inside your crops and plants has the same freezing point, and so it freezes, causing the cells to burst. This leads to severe plant damage that can’t be fixed.
Frost, on the other hand, occurs at a temperature that’s below freezing. The temperature of your crops reaches the freezing point, even if the temperature that surrounds your crops is approaching 32 o F. Since the surface of your plant crops is already at the freezing point, then any dew that forms will automatically turn into ice, causing distress to the plant. You may have seen frost in the form of hoarfrost, the feathery shape of crystals that cover your plants, and rime, which is what happens when dew from the plants turns into frost upon being released.
How To Protect Your Crops
You’ll need some mulch (make sure it’s organic), a mallet, row covers or sheets, wooden stakes and some containers of various sizes. An integral part of farming is not just taking effective measures when the temperatures go down, but predicting such conditions beforehand. Check a weather forecast for low nighttime temperatures and water your crops adequately a few days before the frost is expected to occur.
Your crops will be less susceptible to harm from the cold if they’re well-watered and aren’t wilting. Since your soil will be nice and moist, your crops will stay well protected too. Spread your choice of organic variety mulch in a thick layer over the soil in case there isn’t any mulch placed already. If you’re trying to protect young plant crops from the frost, you can cover them with layers of light hay or mulch.
Take your wooden stakes and place them into the soil while making sure that the tops of plants fall below the tips of the stakes. Use row covers or sheets to place them over the crops and wooden stakes but remember that your sheets shouldn’t touch the plants. Bring the sheets to the soil level and cover them with more soil to keep them from lifting and allowing the chill to enter. If you have smaller crops lying around individually, cover them with a container but place a small dish with water inside so that heat is provided.
If you want, you can set up some lights (like fairy lights) under the protective sheets so they give off some heat to your crops. The next morning, you should remember to remove the row covers, sheets and containers from plants. That’s because sunshine will kick in soon, and leaving the covers on your crops would put them at the risk of overheating.
Practice this effective routine every time you’re anticipating the frost to keep your crops protected. Happy Farming!