Edible garden: Don't get frosty

By Janice Marriott

Frosts demand proactive steps in the garden, says Janice Marriott.

It's time to think of how you can protect your plants from being overcome by frost. Photo / Thinkstock
It's time to think of how you can protect your plants from being overcome by frost. Photo / Thinkstock

With frosts about to surprise us, it's a good time to think of how you are going to protect delicate plants, like limes and tamarillos.

Frost lurks in the lowest areas of the garden, so plant the more tender plants higher up or on slopes. Move any vulnerable pot plants under the eaves or against a brick wall that will retain the day's heat.

For plants in the garden, put a few stakes around them and cover them with frost cloth like Mikroclima, or even old sheets, before dusk on those clear nights when frost is a certainty. Remove it in the morning.

Mikroclima lets air and water pass through and doesn't unravel. But old sheets are cheaper.

Another trick used by orchardists is to use Vapor Gard, an organic biodegradable sunscreen which you spray on the leaves. It lasts about three months and protects down to 3C. It also reduces the stress of strong winds.

Ease up on the watering and fertilising. The idea here is to discourage new leaves that can't take the frost. Sprinkling potash around the roots of plants also helps to harden them up for winter.

- NZ Herald

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