[NAFEX] Basic Frost Protection Questions

road's end farm organic101 at linkny.com
Sat Nov 24 15:18:12 EST 2007

On Nov 24, 2007, at 12:04 PM, William C. Garthright wrote:

> Yes, you'll have to take these off between frosts.

I'm not sure just what sort of frost cover you mean. Some things (such 
as clear unperforated plastic) do need to be removed as soon as frost 
danger is over. Others don't.

The assorted spunbonded row covers (Reemay, Kimberley Farms, Agribon 
etc.) that allow most light, water, and some air to pass through don't 
need to be removed unless/until the weather gets really hot, or to get 
at the crop for harvest or weeding, or if/when pollination is 
necessary; unless your crop is getting only barely enough light even 
without covers. Vegetable crops in this area are routinely kept under 
these for weeks at a time, to allow early spring planting, or delayed 
harvest in the fall, or in some cases to keep specific insects off the 

For some crops, these can be laid right on top of the crop; for others 
hoops or cages or some similar structure is needed to hold them off 
growing points and/or off tender leaves during high winds. (I have no 
idea about citrus trees, and am not sure about potatoes. Peppers need 
hoops. Melons need them if windy, but not if it isn't.) Whether you 
need hoops or a structure may depend on the amount of wind likely in 
the particular location, as well as the specific crop.

Two layers will provide more frost protection than one, as will 
choosing heavier fabrics. Both of these options will reduce light 
available under the cover, and increase heat buildup if the weather 
turns hot. Even one layer will give some protection. The manufacturer 
or vendor should be able to tell you about how many degrees of frost 
protection will be given by a specific weight of fabric (at least for 
short frosts; long term cold weather is another matter).

Finger Lakes NY; zone 5 mostly
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