Freezing in Georgia: What to do for Your Garden?

Arctic blast could damage your plants!
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Frost fabric for the win!

How cold is it going to get? Temperatures are plummeting into the low teens here in Georgia this week! Wednesday and Thursday are looking to be some pretty cold days for us southerners. Wind chill could be as cold as 4 degrees Thursday morning! For more information on the forecast visit these two links. I always look at both myself! Weather Channel: http://www.weather.com/weather/5day/l/USGA0028:1:US National Weather Service: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ffc/ What should we do for our plants? Long periods of cold  and extreme low temperatures can damage even our heartiest winter crops! In Georgia we are privileged with being able to grow year round if we protect our plants from these extremes. Hopefully you have already mulched well if you don't have raised beds. Raised beds naturally retain more heat and mulch protects the root zone from cold damage and also generates some heat. So what do you do now? Add mulch if you have it available but more important when the lows are this extreme is to cover your plants. The leafy parts of our winter vegetables are pretty tough but in the teens they can get severely damaged and possibly even die. If you have any tender perennials or winter vegetables get them under something asap. The earlier or warmer it is when you cover them the more heat you will trap in! Cover with whatever you have on hand! Old sheets or light blankets, burlap or even a tarp is going to help! The best protection is of course a greenhouse or high tunnel, cold-frame or frost fabric. We use frost fabric as it's the most versatile, movable, affordable, and allows sunlight and some breathing so it can be left on as long as necessary. I have had success ordering from Gempler's but you may find it locally also. It is a good idea to remove other covers when temperatures go above freezing during the day so plants don't overheat. What if you end up with damage anyway? So maybe you forgot, got home too late or didn't read all these great tips beforehand, and your garden didn't get covered? Or maybe you covered it perfectly and it just got way too cold? No worries, you're bound to have some plants that will hopefully survive and some that wont. Don't get the shovel out just yet! Wait a few days to see how bad the damage really is. If leaves are completely dead at this point cut them off. Leave the center stem and see if it starts to grow new leaves. I have had many damaged plants recover from an unexpected early frost and still be able to produce, it just takes longer. So what are you waiting for, get outside and cover your plants!  

About Rose Duncan

I grew up in a homesteading family and have been on many life paths since then. Getting back to my roots has been a goal ever since leaving home. In the past five years I have become closer to where I want to be than ever. We grow and preserve most of our vegetables, have chickens for eggs and sometimes meat, and make most of our food from scratch. I have been a Professional Horticulturist for 15 years, I am also a Master Gardener, and a Certified Landscape Professional. I recently began being a stay at home mom. This big change will allow me to put even more attention into living off the land in a sustainable, organic way. We chose this lifestyle. It makes us feel good. We live closer to the earth and know our food comes from a clean, environmentally friendly, humane, healthy and affordable source. I have a passion for all of this and want to share it with others. So many people are curious about this way of life and want to learn more and my hope is that this blog will help them on their path and we can enjoy this journey together as a community. Feel free to contact me if you need any more information.

11 comments

  • Your Southern readers will thank you.
    Up north we let it freeze and then mulch. The trick is to avoid the freeze thawing cycle. Many crops e.g. garlic don’t mind the freeze but once frozen they don’t want to thaw until Spring. Peace and Abundance~Grammy

  • Sara Rorie

    Do I need to prop up the blankets so they are not resting on the plants? TIA

  • Lisa Dye

    Thanks Rose for the tips. I had covered my beds a few weeks back but didn’t think of removing the cover to let them air out and breath. After reading your post I checked the beds and they smelled a little funky from the trapped heat. I pulled the covers back for a few hours and now they’re fine. Never thought a plant could cook in 40 degree weather. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I’m really looking forward to following you down your new path of homesteading.

  • We’re frozen solid up here in Canada. It was -0.4F last night. Add windchill and we were at -31F. I put my garden to bed in late September, and I’ll put it out again in May, maybe later. The year before last, I put my garden in the last week of June. I really envy those of you who can grow year round. This time of year, even my greenhouse is freezing.

    You’re a new blogger? Welcome to this crazy world. Pop on over and visit me. I’m sure my readers would love to meet you. 😀 I’ll add you to my Bloglovin’ list.

    • Rose Rose

      Canada sounds really cold!!! I grew up in MA but that is still not as cold as what you are experiencing! I really enjoy the ability to grow so long here in Georgia!
      Just started my Blog in January 1st! Most of this week has been building and adding behind the scenes! I look forward to being done building so I can focus more on writing! I don’t know how to make a bloglovin’ list, is that a plugin or widget??? LOL!!!

      • Bloglovin’ is http://www.bloglovin.com – it’s a way to follow the blogs that you read. One of the best ways to build your blog is to network with other blogs, leave comments, etc., and then you also need to keep up on what’s happening and what trends are, etc. So it adds up (at least I find it does) to a lot of blogs to follow. I like Bloglovin’ because I add a new blog (like Wholesome Roots) to my list, and then I can scroll through all my unread posts, one after another, without going back to a list and hunting for each one. It just makes it easier. I follow … umm … I had to check … 304 blogs!!!

        And no, it’s not an affiliate link, and as far as I know Bloglovin is completely free.

        I’m not sure the building is ever really done. After a year or two, you’ll look back and think “Oh, my … what was I thinking?” You’ll learn new stuff, new widgets and code will be developed, trends will change. It’s a wonderful adventure.

        By the way, I’m curious – do you realize that all comments are coming up with your family’s photo?

        • Rose Rose

          Oh cool, I’ll go check that out! Sounds like a great networking tool! I couldn’t figure the avatar thing out but after you said that I did some changes and I think I fixed it! Thanks! My picture is still bigger than everyone else’s but… I guess that will be my next trouble shoot!

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