To Cover or Not, That is the Question

Frost is in the forecast the next few mornings. Tony talked to an expert on what to cover and what to harvest.

Frosty Friday Dawn Ahead

One look at the selves at the supermarket confirms what the calendar says. It’s late October and pumpkins rule the roost!

In Kenova, Mayor Ric Griffith is busy carving thousands of Jack-O-Lanterns in time for the C-K Autumnfest next week. Next Tuesday’s parade precedes a Halloween weekend of fun.

Of course, with pumpkins come frost and the next two nights Jack Frost will have his paint brush out at the crack of dawn.

So if you are a gardener, landscaper or just a homeowner who has a tender plant still outside, here’s some advice from Meigs County Ohio extension agent Hal Kean on what to cover and what to leave alone.

First off, let’s be honest. The growing season is living on borrowed time. At some point during the next few weeks, cold air will arrive and zap your plants. So if you have enjoyed a long enough growing season, then the advice is simple. Hal says, “harvest your tropical veggies and fruits like tomatoes, beans and peppers.” The bonus of picking green tomatoes is they will ripen inside your house.

Now if you are greedy (aka smart?) and want to prolong the life of your plants, then a bed sheet or some type of fabric covering over your tender flowers and plants is recommended. “I do not like plastic since it can scorch the plants when it warms up. A bed sheet placed like a tent around your plant works best”, Hal told me. The tent keeps the weight of the sheet off the stems of the plants and prevents stem breakage.

On the flower end of the flora spectrum, Hal recommends covering or bringing inside zinnias, geraniums, potted plants, dahlias, petunians, Christmas Cacti and Boston Ferns. “But the mum family and pansies are hardy and frost resistant”, Hal adds.

Given the weather will be warming markedly this weekend (after a chilly start Saturday morning) into next week, it is a good bet you can prolong the beauty of your landscape for at least another week. Still, a word of caution, cold weather is due back in town for All Hallows Eve weekend.
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