October 9, 2017
In the late summer months, the nights are starting to get cooler and the number of daylight hours is slowly diminishing. These natural occurrences are offered as signals to plants and trees that the growing season is dwindling. This is the time of year when trees’ leaves start to change, as they start their process of a long winter’s rest. Photosynthesis all but stops, turning leaves from green to yellow, red and orange.
But what about your garden? Homegrown vegetables, in particular, need to be protected from the elements of late summer. Tomatoes, for example, will die immediately if they’re exposed to frost. What follows are some suggestions for protecting your garden from inclement weather, including excess rain, wind, and cold.
Protect Your Garden From Excess Rainy Weather
A constant deluge of water can be harmful to your plants because the ground becomes waterlogged and they don’t have a chance to dry out. Too much water ruins plants’ roots and they become hard to grow and produce fruit or flowers.
One preventative task to prevent plants from becoming waterlogged is to put down mulch after planting. Mulch helps plants retain the water they already have, and may prevent too much from soaking in. Mulch helps reduce soil compaction, which contributes to the overwatering problem.
Protect Your Plants From the Wind
Be sure plants are anchored well, especially those that grow heavy branches with fruit (like tomatoes) or up vines and trellises, such as beans.
Also, building a fence around your planting area with open slats is a great way to combat the wind. Individual pickets with small openings between the stakes will allow for some airflow while stopping most wind, better than a solid wall can. A solid wall would create more turbulence in the wind, while one that has room for airflow can slow down wind speeds without creating new, strong currents.
Planting hedgerows or bushes along your where your plants are is another excellent way to protect plants from the wind. These sturdy, hearty bushes will take most of the brunt of the fast-moving wind.
Protect Your Plants From the Cold
The first frost is imminent. You have several stubborn tomatoes that haven’t yet turned ripe on account of being late bloomers, and you know that one night out in the cold will kill them for good. What’s the solution?
Covering them. Covering fragile plants that are extra sensitive to cold with a clear tarp prevents them from being exposed to frost and cold temperatures. The clear coating allows whatever sun might come up in the morning from shining through. Take it off in the morning after the temperatures warm up, and your plants will thank you for it by continuing to survive.
A More Permanent Solution
Greenhouses are an excellent choice for year-round plant growth as they protect your growing plants from the elements and extreme temperatures. It’s possible to grow plants in the dead of winter in a greenhouse, as long as you supply proper heating to keep temperatures comfortable, typically between 75-85 degrees during the day and 60-75 at night.
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