Like many gardeners I start my seedlings indoors to get a jump on the growing season. This means I plant in containers and flats in February or March when it is still cold outside. I use grow lights, full sun windows, and some outdoor time when it is warmer and sunny to help them grow. Once the threat of frost has passed I plant them in the garden beds that will be their home for the summer.
What though if you had to plant a bit early, before the danger of frost has passed? This can be the case for a variety of reasons. Perhaps your seedlings got too big and needed to go in the ground. Maybe a flat overturned and rather than lose the seedlings you decide to plant them. Or maybe your perennials got an early start due to warmer than usual weather and they need protection. If you have plants in the ground when a frost advisory is issued then you need to take steps to protect them. Here are some tips:
* Water well before night falls. The soil will release moisture through the night, keeping the air temperature near the soil warmer.
* Use a fan to keep air circulating around your plants and prevent frost from forming.
* Create a tent frame using wood stakes, garden tools, or whatever you have on hand. Cover with weed fabric, a plastic tarp, or a bed sheet. Remove the next morning.
* A thin layer of straw can help protect plants and seedlings as well.
* Recycle plastic juice and milk jugs and use them as cloches to cover your seedlings.
* Move potted plants indoors for the night or wrap the the pots with towels, burlap, or bubble wrap to help insulate the roots from the cold.
Hopefully these tips will help you can ward off any damage to your plants if a frost advisory is issued in your area. No gardener wants to lose their summer bounty because of inclimate weather!!