If you have decided to leave your tender plants outside, there are still some things you can do to help them. The most common approach is to cover them. Correct techniques will help here.
First, mulch the plants before you cover them.
Second, if it's going to be real cold, water the plants before you go to bed.
Third, pile dry leaves around the plant to a height of around 2 to 3 feet. It is easy to secure a free supply of dry leaves by picking up leaves your neighbors rake, sack and set out for the garbage collectors.
Fourth, cover everything with a sheet, blanket or freeze cloth. Anchor the cloth to the ground with 2 x 4's or bricks. You don't want the wind to come up under the cloth and blow away the ground heat.
Fifth, if you use plastic, put it on the outside. Don't let plastic touch the leaves or you will get leaf burn everywhere the plastic touches the plant.
Sixth, remove the covering the next day if the temperature is expected to get up into the 50's.
Last revised November 14, 1997
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