How to Water a Garden to Protect the Plants From Frost

Overview

Late spring or early fall frost can cut your gardening season short, but there are some simple, inexpensive frost protection techniques that can give your garden a few degrees of warmth--enough to thwart light frosts and extend your growing season by at least a couple of weeks. Watering your plants thoroughly in the weeks leading up to frost is one of the easiest ways to fortify them against frost damage. Then, when frost threatens, carefully water the ground around the plants and cover them with floating row covers to capture heat from the moistened soil

Step 1

Water your garden regularly beginning two weeks before the last frost date. Keep the soil evenly moist, but not saturated.

Step 2

Lay your hose on the ground between garden plants in the morning when a frost is predicted. Turn the water on to a trickle and let it soak the ground through the day. Do not get water on the leaves of the plant.

Step 3

Shut off the water in mid-afternoon, and carefully coil the hose so that it drains--water left in the hose to freeze may crack the hose.

Step 4

Lay floating row cover material over the garden bed. Weight down its corners with rocks or boards but be careful not to crush the plants.

Step 5

Remove the floating row cover material in the morning, as soon as sun reaches the garden bed, to allow the soil to warm again. Repeat watering and covering on subsequent days as necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Hose
  • Water source
  • Floating row cover material, sized to cover garden bed

References

  • University of Arizona Urban Horticulture Program: Frost Protection
  • Colorado State University Extension Master Gardener Program: Frost Protection and Extending the Growing Season
Keywords: frost protection, watering garden, frost watering

About this Author

Cindy Hill has practiced law since 1987 and maintained a career in freelance writing since 1978. Hill has won numerous fiction and poetry awards and has published widely in the field of law and politics. She is an adjunct instructor of ethics and communications.