We always have plants that are special which we hope to carry through the colder parts of the winter. Sometimes just keeping frost off is enough, sometimes keeping the ground from freezing (have we had to worry in years?), or protecting pots of plants all winter is our goal. Here are some things I have tried and had success with.
Tomato cages can be used as hot caps. Cover the cage with plastic, if it doesn’t touch the leaves, or frost cloth. You can even stuff these cages with straw or wadded up newspaper for even more protection. Do not use newspaper if it is going to rain.
Large glass jars, bowls, trash cans, or cardboard boxes make excellent plant covers. Just don’t leave them over the plant once the weather warms up during the day or you will have steamed plants!
For very large plants or large areas, hay bales with a plastic top make a good makeshift greenhouse.
Pots can be nestled down into wood chips, leaves, or pine straw and completely covered until the ‘spell’ is over.
I keep piles of pine straw discreetly placed all around the yard. When frost is impending, I throw handfuls of it over plants to protect from frost. I can keep quite a few annuals going right up into December doing this.
I am having a blast with my newly acquired mulcher. Hope you are keeping and using all the FREE mulching material we have here in our area. We are so blessed.
Dee Bishop, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service