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Charlie Nardozzi’s Gardening Tips: Protecting Plants for Fall and Frost

The big chill is coming and you have to get ready! Soon frost will be in the forecast and all those lovely flowers and vegetables you’ve been nursing along for months could all be kaput in one night. But you don’t have to lose all your hard work. There are some steps you can take to protect your prized plants from frost.

Evaluate– You probably don’t want to save everything. The old tomatoes and ratty zinnias might be best to let die. So decide who looks good and can still produce for you, like those sweet pepper plants or mini petunias. And who should say goodbye to for the growing season.

Move’em Inside- For those plants in containers or baskets, move them into a protected spot indoors to avoid a frost. If a light frost is predicted, you can even get away with moving them close to the house. The heat from the siding may be enough to protect them overnight.

Cover Them Up– The obvious protection is to cover up your prized flower, veggie or herb. Floating row covers come in different weights. Unlike the lightweight summer cover that’s used for insect control, the winter blanket weight row cover can protect plants down to 25 F. Drape this blanket over plants before sunset and secure it to the ground so heat can accumulate under the blanket before nightfall. Remove the cover once temperatures warm.


Make a Tent– For more frost sensitive plants, such as basil and salvia, build a tent over your plants. The tent can be supported with wire hoops. Drape a floating row cover over the hoops and secure it to the hoops with VELCRO® Brand ONE-WRAP® ties. Wrap ties around the hoop with the rough side out—the hooks will grip the fabric row cover and hold it in place.  This will create an air layer between the plants and fabric that offers more protection.

Look for this packaging when you pick up your supplies:


Stay tuned for more seasonal tips from Charlie!

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