Good gardeners know that they are at the mercy of the weather and that whether plants thrive or struggle to survive is largely out of their hands. Most have the good sense to use their skills to increase the odds of success. Few things raise the hackles of a gardener like the threat of frost that has the potential to destroy the fruits of their labor. But good preventive measures save crops that Mother Nature would render useless.
Know the expected frost dates for your area and be alert to weather conditions that may alter those dates. Never rely on a predicted frost date alone.
Watch weather reports daily for alerts of possible frost. Under adverse conditions frost can hit several weeks after the predicted last frost in spring or before the predicted first frost of fall.
Cover spring crops with plant caps or covers. These fit over the top of young plants and prevent frost from touching the foliage. Make your own with 2-liter bottles or milk jugs with the bottoms cut off. Secure the cap to the soil with a spike or U-shaped wires to prevent them from blowing away in the wind.
Cover mature crops when a fall frost threatens with old bedsheets or strips of plastic. Lay the fabric over the plants, covering all foliage. Secure the ends with rocks or sticks to prevent blowing. Remove once the air warms in the morning and store close to the garden for quick access.