With Mother Nature bringing an early frost to Eastern Iowa, there are a few things to consider to lengthen the growing season and protect your plants.
Protect Tender Plants or Harvest
- All tender annuals, vegetables, and herbs need protection from frost.
- Cover plants with sheets, paper, or cardboard boxes to keep frost from damaging the plants. Avoid using plastic for protection.
- Plants in pots can be moved into the garage while temperatures are below freezing.
- If you are not able to protect your edible plants, be sure to make one last harvest. Pick tomatoes, peppers, summer squash, and tender herbs, such as basil.
- While hardy plants like mums and fall annuals can handle cold weather, it is best to cover blooms or move into a garage or building to help prolong bloom time.
Move Tropicals and Houseplants Indoors
- Make sure all houseplants and tropicals are moved indoors (if you haven't already) or into a space that is above 40 degrees.
- Be sure to wash debris, dust, and insects off of your plant. This can be done in the shower if you don't have a chance to use the garden hose before cold weather moves in.
- Use insecticidal soap to protect the plant from insects currently feeding on the plants.
- Treat with a systemic granular to help prevent insects from wreaking havoc on your plants during the winter months. Most granular products work for 8 weeks to 3 months. Be sure to read your label and mark your calendar to treat again.