How to Protect Plants from Frost — Low Tunnels

How to Protect Plants from Frost — Low Tunnels


Hi I’m Tricia, an organic gardener. I grow
organically for a healthy and safe food supply, for a clean and sustainable environment, for an enjoyable and rewarding
experience. Growing vegetables year round or
extending your season doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. I’ll show you how. When it comes to protecting your plants
from frost it’s important to know where the heat
will come from. Soil absorbs heat during the day and
radiates it back at night. When you cover your plants you’re trying to trap some
of the heat radiating from the soil. A simple way to take advantage of this radiant
heat to grow veggies in the winter is to make it a low tunnel. For every three to six feet of tunnel you need: two pieces of rebar or some
sort of stakes, one seven foot lengths of pvc, and two recover clamps. Space your hoops a little bit closer if you
expect the snow load, and wider if you don’t have to worry
about any snow. You also need a piece of pvc the same
length is your bed. To go on top of the hoops I like this
Agribon floating row cover. This eighty three inch by fifty foot
piece is perfect for the low tunnels and it’s cost effective for the home
gardener. The three basic weights of Agribon are the AG-50 which provides eight degrees of protection and fifty percent light
transmittance, AG-30 which provides six degrees
of protection and seventy percent light transmittance and lastly the AG-19 that provides four degrees of frost
protection and eighty five percent light transmittance. Start with a three to four foot wide bed. Pound the rebar into the garden bed. This stake is gonna hold the pvc pipe which would be the frame for your low tunnel.
You want it anchored into the ground deep enough that it will hold the pipe
with enough above the ground to make sure that the pipe
can’t move. My low tunnel is going over my garden bed.
If your doing yours directly in the ground and they’re going to leave the
stakes all year long after you take the low tunnel off, make sure you paint them a fluorescent color
or flag and so nobody falls over them. Well all the pounding and bending is done and now I’m ready to put the Agribon on. I’ve cut this Agribon about seven feet
longer than the length of my bed and that way it can drape over the hoops and close at the end. At one end of the tunnel, and on one side secure the Agribon with snap clamps. Pull it tight, and secure it at the other end. Now just clamp the middle and you’re ready for the other side. Gather and secure the fabric at the
ends with a rock or sandbag. To vent my low tunnel and to make it
easier to harvest my greens I’ve sewn a simple sleeve into the edge of the Agribon. To sew your sleeve: take six inches of the fabric along
along the long edge, fold it over, then sew it in place. Nylon thread is
gonna work better than cotton thread. Now, simply insert the pvc pipe into
the sleeve. If you don’t have a sewing machine you can just wrap the Agribon around the pipe and use a snap clamp to adhere it. Now when it’s time to vent or harvest your greens you can just lift up one side of the fabric. Did you know frosts and freezes are two
different things? A radiation frost happens when the
weather is clear and the wind is still. The sun warms the soil during the day
and there’s no cloud cover to stop the heat that’s gathered in the soil and in
the plants from escaping into the atmosphere at
nighttime. An advective freeze happens when its
windy and a mass of cold air comes in bringing freezing temperatures. The type of tunnel that we’ve built does
very well protecting from the frost but if a freeze is coming you might
need a little bit more help. Water is a great heat reservoir even better than soil. If a freeze is in the forecast fill milk
jugs or five-gallon buckets with water and placed in the tunnel near your plants. Another way to add a little warmth is to add some decorations. C7 or C9 standard not LED
christmas lights can be strung under the fabric to heat the low tunnel. Make sure that the lights don’t touch
any plants. You can also put down some plastic mulch
underneath the tunnel to warm the soil even more. Grow a garden in the winter and grow organic for life.

11 Replies to “How to Protect Plants from Frost — Low Tunnels”

  1. They sell rebar covers at ever home store. They are cheap and offer far more protection then a flag or painting them a bright color.

  2. That is great information.  We have finished uncovering all of the cactus and I also made a video about the frost cloth.  Over here, we are all completely organic and quite peaceful too.  Thanks

  3. was woundering if u have anything on marigolds for indoor needs and was to grow then just form small pot ? thank you !

  4. Hi pretty lady Trish! I love all your videos, I have learned so much! I want to get some agribon for protection against grasshoppers and later on use it for frost protection I don't want to get 2 different kinds and it's still in the 90
    's here in Texas what number agribon should I order? Thank you so much!

  5. Thank you for the video! I have been looking for instruction on how to do this. I have a few questions… we live in Jacksonville, FL and my spring and summer garden was destroyed by the sun… would this tunnel help with that as well? If so which fabric would you recommend? Our winters aren't really bad but we do get frosts and a few freezes(no lower than the 20's), would AG-19 work for us for winter?

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