Don’t let the first fall frost end your garden season. Give your plants a bit of protection and gain several weeks of beauty and pounds of harvest for your efforts.
Simply cover plants with a sheet, lightweight blanket or newspaper in late afternoon whenever frost threatens. Protect individual plants with rose cones or 5-gallon buckets. Cover small plants with a gallon milk jug that has had the bottom removed. Remove the frost covering in the morning once temperatures rise above freezing. Keep the coverings handy for the next frosty night.
Or try one of the floating row covers such as ReeMay, Harvest Guard or Grass Fast. These polypropylene spun fabrics allow air, light and water through while trapping the heat around the plants. Simply lay the fabric over the plants. Anchor the edges with pipes, boards, stones or any heavy object you might have lying around the garage.
You can leave the row covers on for days or even through the end of the season.
A bit more information: Plants vary in their ability to tolerate frost. Tender plants such as tomatoes, peppers, coleus and impatiens will not tolerate freezing temperatures. Be prepared to cover these plants when even a light frost is predicted. A light frost is when temperatures drop to 32 degrees or slightly colder. Cool-season vegetables like broccoli, collards and Brussels sprouts as well as half-hardy and hardy annuals like ornamental kale, alyssum and pansies can tolerate a hard frost. This is when the temperature drops to 28 degrees.