140 Middletown – Lincroft Road, Lincroft, New Jersey 07738   

Winter Hours: Call 732-741-9098


Preparing for the First Frost

While October has been a beautiful month it is sadly coming to a close. With the end of the month looming, we are certainly seeing the temperatures drop as we inch closer to winter. For gardeners, a true sign that winter is here is when the first frost hits. Since we’re not that far off from this - which can occur anytime between September and November - it’s helpful to brush up on the following tips for preparing for the first frost.


Harvest Tender Crops

If you have a garden that is still harvesting, it’s important to know that frost will not necessarily mean the end. Some crops are more tender than others and will be killed by frost, while others will tolerate a small amount. Tender crops include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash and pumpkins. If you have these in your garden, harvest them before the frost comes. Crops that tolerate some frost include cabbage, lettuce, brussel sprouts, spinach, chives, peas and carrots.


Protect Warm-Season Crops

When frost is in the New Jersey forecast, focus your efforts on protecting warm-season crops. Crops that grow low to the ground, such as cucumbers and some tomatoes, can be covered with straw. Taller plants like some tomato varieties and peppers should be covered with plastic or paper grocery bags. The goal of covering the plants is to trap heat from the soil in the air. In the morning, uncover the plants, especially if they are covered in plastic. Do this until the ground freezes and the plants are dormant.


Prune Trees and Fertilize the Lawn

It’s not just plants and flowers that deserve attention, but trees too. Prune dead, broken or diseased branches from trees and shrubs. Also, stop deadheading roses and reduce watering to encourage the bushes to go dormant. October is a great time to fertilize your lawn since the temperatures are ideal, allowing roots to grow without drying them out.


Dig Up Bulbs and Herbs

Tender bulbs such as dahlias and cannas should be dug up and stored in a cool, dry location. Herbs like parsley can also be dug up and placed in a small pot next to a sunny window. The herb will grow throughout the winter and can be replanted in the spring, if you choose. Plus, it’s great to have fresh spices on hand for soups, stews and other winter recipes.


Drain or Blow Out Your Irrigation System

It’s important that there is no water left in the irrigation system, as the water could freeze and cause the pipes to break. Drain or blow out your irrigation system according to the directions and hand water the plants that still need water until the ground freezes. Also, clean and sharpen garden tools and equipment before sending them into storage.


Winter may be near, but true gardeners work year round!

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