This morning was the moment of truth – did my multiple layers of covers protect my plants through our record breaking Labour Day freeze?
I was mainly breathing sighs of relief as I pulled off the blankets and tarps. Everything was still alive! However upon closer inspection there was definitely some damage sustained, especially on any leaves near the outside of the garden. It looks like the cucumbers and melons did some nice growing in the dark, and a few green tomatoes got a bit of colour.
Definitely some major damage to the cucumber leaves along the edge of the raised bed, but a lot more cucumbers than I remember being there on Saturday!
Wilty leaves on this tomato plant, but fruits intact and ripening.
So, what works for a too-early summer freeze?
I have no doubt that if I hadn’t covered everything in multiple layers, these plants would not have made it. For plants with foliage and fruits well above soil level, like tomatoes, more than two layers are likely necessary. My in-ground garden with melons and strawberries definitely fared best, as it had the warmest soil to begin with, while my raised beds were obviously cooler.
The plants sustained enough damage during one unseasonably cold night that I doubt they could have managed a second night of subzero, nor will they likely be able to again. I’m hoping I bought a bit more ripening time (and maybe an extra jar of pickles) by doing this, but next time the forecast shows another multi-hour freeze it’s probably time to end the gardening season.
My gamble worked out this time, but my fingers are crossed for normal temperatures in the coming weeks!