WINNIPEG - We had a few balmy days this season, but the rain has helped us recover somewhat from a terrible drought. The drastic shift in weather, following a snowstorm in Churchill, means there’s a risk of frost overnight tonight and Wednesday night.
Environment Canada says the risk of frost, which can devastate farm crops and gardens alike, comes with an unseasonably cool air mass and high pressure ridge moving into Manitoba, with temperatures expected to fall to around freezing. The frost alert is mostly impacting the western region of the province, including Minnedosa, Riding Mountain National Park, and The Pas, but also includes Winnipeg, the Interlake, Victoria Beach, and Pine Falls.
Environment Canada recommends you cover up your plants if you live in any of those regions of Manitoba. Here are some suggestions to help your plants stay alive during these erratic Manitoba temperatures.
- Cover them up: Use a material that’s breathable, such as blankets, sheets, or towels. If you chose to use plastic to cover your plants, put up stakes to hold the plastic up, as any contact with the plastic will probably result in frosting.
- Light them up: Seriously - It’s worth trying. By attaching some lights to a tree or two, or some larger plants, you can keep your garden cozy. You can use a string of incandescent Christmas lights or a 100-watt bulb, which will radiate heat. Just be sure to choose bulbs that are safe for outdoor use, and don’t use LEDs, since they create almost no heat.
- Move the pots inside or huddle the containers together. If you have potted plants, you of course can bring them indoors for the night. But moving containers closer together can help them exchange heat. Putting them near the wall of your home, preferably on the south- or west-facing side, will also help them retain heat.
- Give them a good watering: Wet soil does a better job of staying warm than dry soil. You may want to spray the leaves with an anti-transpirant solution to keep that moisture in.
- Make a tree burrito: Wrap the trunks of younger trees in blankets to help them hold onto the heat.
What are you doing to keep your plants healthy? Do you just have seedlings and potted flowers that you can just bring inside, or bigger plants you’re covering up with something? Let me know!