Protecting Your Garden from the Cold

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MIDDLE SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP -- The rule of thumb for many green thumbs this time of year is to plant your annuals, vegetables, and herbs after Mother's Day.

The reason is because the weather is usually warmer for those plants to grow. But that's not true for Monday night.

Cold weather is on the way and you must get your plants prepared.

Carts filled with flowers, vegetables and herbs spent a cozy evening Sunday night inside the greenhouse at Richard's Tree Farm near Marshalls Creek. Other plants were tucked away underneath these tarps as a way to prevent damage from cold nighttime temperatures.

"It's just simple protection from the frost and tonight, actually, they're calling for some freeze," said Seth Richards, the CEO of Richard's Tree Farm.

Richards says the cold nighttime spring temperatures aren't abnormal. His customers know this, too.

"I'm leaving them in the garage. Last year, I had them outside. It was too late to bring them in, so I had big garbage bags over them, then take them off in the morning," said Tom Pacetta from Middle Smithfield Township.

So let's say you just planted your annuals, your vegetables, and your herbs. Richards says if the temperature at night is 40 degrees or below, you want to take action and protect those plants. First you want to get a basket, for example, a laundry basket, and put it over your plant. Then get a garbage bag or bed sheet and put it over the basket, like a tent. Make sure it isn't touching plant. Then, weigh down the bag or sheet, so it doesn't blow away.

"There's nothing worse than going through the whole routine of time and effort and come out in the morning and the plastic or cloth is in your neighbor's yard," said Richards.

One customer decided to take the day to browse around the greenhouse and to wait-out the cold before buying anything.

"Another time I'll just come back and get some more stuff, when the temperature is warmer," said Susan DiPiazza of Bushkill.