Don’t let fickle weather undue all the work you’ve put into your springtime garden; cold weather protection is easy (and cheap)! Why do you need to worry about protecting plants from the chill? Mostly because freezing/frost can kill plants. Also, unseasonably cold weather will weaken and stress tomato and pepper transplants. These are warm weather loving plants and in order to get them growing, flowering, and setting fruit in a healthy manner, you need to avoid stressing the plants.
Plants are really a lot like us- we are not happy when it is 75° and sunny and then the next day you wake up to a bone-chilling 35° morning. (True story).
So here is a step by step guide to what I did to protect my plants, and it cost nothin’! You need some cheap garbage bags, I used our 13 gallon white Hefty’s– no drawstring or anything fancy- and a pair of scissors.
1) Place bag on top of the plant cage, the closed bottom facing up.
2) With the scissors, cut along the bottom seam to open up the bag and gently pull the bag down the cage until it touches the soil. Weigh down the edges of the bag with items found in your garden.
3) Tie the edges of the bag in three places to the cage. I did this by tearing 2 inch long vertical strips along the top of the bag and tying knots at the three places where the ring meets the cage. This keeps the top open to the sun.
You’re done! Plants will stay safe with the bag warming the air around the plant and protecting them from wind. I leave these on during the day if the temperature doesn’t get to0 high, like above 70º, and of course, keep them on at night when the temp is dipping in the low 40′s and the 30′s.
Another option for covering plants is to use the plastic pot from a particularly large pepper or tomato transplant. Cut the bottom off and place over the plant, like so.
Now here is a picture of one of my marigolds, just for fun,