Protecting Your Tender Plants From A Spring Freeze

Last spring I bought six kiwi seedlings. Within a couple days of getting planted, they were promptly destroyed by a fierce hail storm. This year I thought I’d try again. I order a few more kiwis and they arrived yesterday. So not wanting them to linger in the box any longer than they needed to, I planted them promptly. However, this morning the weather forecast tells me to expect -6° C overnight. True, the kiwis I ordered were the ‘Arctic Beauty’ variety, but I didn’t really want to push them. I needed to protect them from freezing somehow.

So what to do?

After doing a little research, I discovered a couple of ways I could go about preserving them. Bringing them inside wasn’t an option I wanted to entertain (digging them up, bringing them indoors, planting them in a pot, and three days later transplanting them back in the ground just didn’t seem like a good idea). Putting a tent up over top of them with a little electric heater inside would be tricky (as the rain had already deeply puddled around my new seedlings and I’ve never liked the idea of being electrocuted). So the logical step was just to put an upside down bucket over top of the plants. I had built my trellises with enough clearance underneath to fit a three gallon bucket.

Rumors have it that the temperature under the bucket should stay 3-4° warmer than the air outside. If this is the case, my kiwis should be ok. But time will tell. If it didn’t work I’ll be sure to put an update at the end of this post.

Just one note: If you try this method, be sure to take the bucket off in the morning and put it back in the evening if you suspect cold temperature. Your plants will need the light and the fresh air.

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2 Responses to Protecting Your Tender Plants From A Spring Freeze

  1. Jennifer says:

    I planted my geraniums and lilies today………please don’t freeze. I feel very uneasy this year….we would have had the potatoes planted but it looks like we need to have a funeral for the rototiller instead. 🙁 Can you do a post on hardening off plants? Perhaps that is what is making me a little fearful as my peppers looked horrific this morning…they seemed to have bounced back….whew….What have you planted so far?

    Jennifer

  2. Dave says:

    Boy, I think you’re talking to the wrong person on hardening off plants. I know the concepts, but my plants sure get pretty beat up by the time they’re ready to be planted outside. I’ve lost several. But then again, if it doesn’t kill them, it only makes them stronger, right? Perhaps I’ll do a post on what NOT to do to harden off plants!

    I’ve been pretty leery about planting this year. That plus great busyness has led me to merely transplant a few raspberries, three kiwis, and five spruce trees. Nothing annual yet. Today was going to be the day, but my day got filled working on my new A-Frame greenhouse. So by Monday I should have my entire garden planted, and perhaps by Tuesday I’ll get my greenhouse plants in their beds.

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