How to protect your spring garden from the cold

DENVER, Colorado — With a cold snap bearing down on us, take action.

Protect patio plants and vegetables with sheets and frost cloth, as well as buckets and wastebaskets. Damage from frost is more likely if you live in a colder area or if you’ve planted tropical plants such as tomatoes or peppers. 

Carry what you can to safety indoors. Most annual plants are susceptible to frost. Some, however, are really touchy and can’t survive even one degree below freezing. These include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, the squash family, coleus, sweet potato vine and salvias. But all annuals are at risk except for cold-hardy pansies, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, peas and onions. 

The good news is that most shrubs and perennials can survive a late frost. Plan to cover peonies and hostas. You don’t want peony buds to freeze. And both plants have the disadvantage of not being able to put out new leaves this season if the initial ones freeze. You may want to cover other perennials on a case-by-case basis. 

A late freeze is always a traumatic event. Do your best to mitigate the damage. 

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