We have been feeling the changing seasons here at Better Earth Garden Centre. The cooling air rolling in means that frost isn’t too far off from coming the the Okanagan. When you have plants or a garden at home, it is important to make sure that you are prepared to handle the frost.
Frost: What you need to know.
Frost occurs on plants when the temperature drops below zero degrees celsius. The good thing about all the clouds in the Okanagan winter, is they protect us from the frost. The ideal conditions for frost occurring are a cold, still and clear nights. If your house or garden is located in a low lying area it is also more likely to have frost since cold air will settle in these areas.
If your plants are high off the ground they are in more danger than those that are lowers to the ground. The warmth from the earth helps to keep smaller plants warmer and fend off frost. Even if you do forget about these plants, most can survive a light frost, so the key is to make sure you protect them before a hard freeze occurs. Check the Farmer’s Almanac to see what the frost date is in your area.
Bring in potted plants from outside
To keep your potted plants safe from the frost, it is important to bring them in from the cold. If they are tropical plants, you can read about the best practices we recommend on our other post about Winterizing Tropicals. Potted plants can be kept inside over the winter. To know when is the best time to protect your plants you should take a look and see how sensitive to frost those plants are. Here is a quick guide to some common plants.
Frost Sensitive Plants
There are many plants that are much more sensitive to frost than others. Plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and eggplant should be harvested before the temperature drops below zero. These plants do not cope with the changing temperatures well at all. Better to have some under ripe tomatoes then frozen ones!
Frost Hardy Plants
Other plants are able to withstand the winter temperatures more than the ones listed above. Pumpkins, broccoli, kale and carrots are all very frost hardy plants. These items you can leave in the ground and continue to harvest even as the temperature drops as low as -2 or -3 degrees celsius. To keep plants safe, keep checking the local weather to make sure you have an idea what the temperature is going to do that evening!