250 News - Your News, Your Views, Now

October 28, 2017 4:27 am

Frost Blankets Extend the Growing Season

Saturday, May 9, 2015 @ 3:45 AM

Gardening in a climate such as ours often presents some struggles, a short growing season being one of them, but there are a number of ways to extend your growing season.

One of the first things you can do is start the season off with cold weather plants. These are plants that thrive during shorter days and cooler temperatures, as we have in spring and fall. Some of the most well known ‘cold tolerant’ plants are pansies, however there are a number of vegetables that also prefer the cooler weather. In fact, some vegetables such as kohlrabi and kale actually develop better flavour when nipped by a bit of frost. If you would like to have an early summer harvest try some of the following vegetables: arugula, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, collards, English peas, lettuce, onions, potatoes, radish, spinach, Swiss chard, and turnip. These vegetables can be planted earlier than most others and will withstand light frost.

Though many of these plants are cool tolerant, they can all be wiped out from a sudden, severe drop in temperature. It is important to be prepared to protect your plants if an overnight cold snap is expected and one of the easiest ways you can do this is to use a frost blanket. Frost blankets come either pre-cut in packages, or in bulk on a roll which can be cut to suit whatever length you need. It is fairly easy to use; you simply unroll your blanket and cover your plants, then secure it with rocks, or anything heavy to stop it from blowing off overnight. Come morning you can remove the blanket and store it for future use. In addition to protecting plants from sudden changes in temperature you can also use a frost blanket to transplant other vegetables and flowers earlier than usual. This can make a big difference in yields for plants that take longer to harvest as an extra week of growth could radically improve your harvest. In this instance you would cover your plants each night, and uncover them in the morning so they can continue to enjoy the day’s warmth, until all risk of frost has passed.

Frost blanket covers, can also be used as a defence against unwanted garden guests. (We prefer to use the light weight cover )For crops such as potatoes and carrots that are frequented by potato beetles and carrot rust flies, you can cover them with your frost blanket. Last season we also used the light weight crop cover for onions and cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, to prevent maggots and it worked well so we are planning to do it again. This will deter these pests and your plant will have a better chance to grow healthy and undamaged.

Don’t forget to use your frost blanket to extend the growing season in the fall as well. Cover flowers and vegetables at night when there is a risk of frost to add a few more weeks to summer.

A frost blanket should last you for many seasons making it worthwhile both in value and in increasing your success. They are easy to use, and sure to be worth the effort.


Jos Van Hage owns and operates two Art Knapp Home and Garden Centres in Prince George:

  • Highway 16 west  at Kimball Road
  • Highway 97 North at Northwood Pulpmill Road



Comments for this article are closed.