Winter Freeze Warning Garden Information
When there is a freeze warning we get many questions about what people should do to protect their gardens. Most winter crops handle the typical Florida cold temperatures well, as we rarely dip below 30⁰F. Here’s some freeze info that may help!
Containers & Planters in a Freeze
-Containers and planters are more susceptible to freeze damage because they do not have the insulating effects of the ground surrounding the root ball of the plant. Keep that in mind with the information below. Move containers to a protected area.
Specific Plants & How They Handle a Freeze
-Strawberry cold tolerance is much debated, however, in general there are several factors to consider: blossoms can tolerate temperatures down to 28⁰F, flower buds (unopened flowers) 22⁰F, fruit 26⁰F.
-A frost (31-33⁰F.) will kill summer crops, such as beans, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, okra, peas, pepper, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, tomatoes, and watermelon. It is a calculated risk we take growing any of these typically summer crops in Florida in the fall and through the winter.
-Colder temperatures (26-31⁰F.) may burn foliage but will not kill broccoli, cabbage (some varieties survive 0⁰F!), cauliflower, chard, mustard, onion, radish, and turnips (some can survive dips to 10⁰F!).
The real cold weather champs are (temperatures shown are freezes, or “cold dips,” not constant temperatures):
- Beets (low negative single digits)
- Brussels sprouts (20⁰F)
- Carrots (18⁰F for foliage, even colder for roots)
- Leeks (0⁰F for the more blue-green varieties)
- Collards (0⁰F)
- Parsnips (0⁰F)
- Kale (15⁰F for Russian)
- Lettuce (dips to 10⁰F if the lettuce is young)
- Parsley (15⁰F)
- Swiss Chard (15⁰F)
- Spinach (these are perennials up to zone 6 – which gets lots of snow and cold!)
In For a Freeze? N-Sulate Garden Covers Are The Best
Anytime there is a frost or freeze warning, we recommend moving containers indoors (garage or on a porch close to the house exterior walls are ok), and for garden beds and ornamentals, covering with N-Sulate protective fabric provides exceptional frost protection without heavy weight that could crush plants. It must be understood that for N-Sulate to be effective, the ground around the base of the plant must be watered thoroughly. Do not wet the foliage. The cover then must be secured to the ground all the way around, preferably with something heavy in case there is wind (you don’t want it to blow open or away). If the fabric cover is not touching the ground underneath the plant’s canopy you lose the heat/cold barrier and your plants will have a higher chance of freeze damage. N-Sulate is most effective because it allows crops to breathe and not accumulate moisture which is harmful to the plants and fruit. It is important to uncover your plants when temperatures warm above freezing so they can get sun and exposure to air, and re-cover if it is predicted to go to freezing temperatures again.