Spring Gardening and How To Protect Plants From Freezing

Springtime in Colorado is always an adventure, but this spring has been a doozy for gardeners. After record-making snowfall of 20.7 inches here in Denver during April, I was pleased to see the pea shoots finally emerging, somewhat timidly, on April 30:


But the forecast called for snow and a very hard frost, so that night I pulled the cages out of the ground and covered the pea shoots with a lovely pink knit fabric remnant. I chose this fabric because it’s soft and also 100% polyester, which I hoped would help insulate the plants.

Cover plants to protect from frost

It’s a good thing the peas were covered with their polyester blanket, because this is how our back yard looked when we woke up yesterday, which happened to be May Day:

Spring snow at Happy Simple Living blog
Happy May Day!

Here’s the garden where the peas are planted:

Peas covered with snow at Happy Simple Living blog

We had record-breaking low temperatures last night of 19 degrees F, which smashed the old record of 22 degrees set in 1954. But today? The snow’s melting fast. Here’s the same scene 24 hours later:

Spring snow at Happy Simple Living blog
Happy May 2!

Once the sun had warmed the ground and most of the snow had melted, I pulled back the pink polyester fabric to check on the peas and was relieved to see that they had survived another hard frost:

Peas emerge from the snow at Happy Simple Living blog

Have you planted seeds or plants yet in your garden? If so, are you having to deal with wild weather? I’d love to hear how you’re coping, and here’s to hardiness and resilience—not only for our plants, but for those of us trying to help them grow!


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About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of 15 books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

8 thoughts on “Spring Gardening and How To Protect Plants From Freezing”

  1. It sure has been a crazy spring, hasn’t it? I was about to put some of the warm weather stuff in the ground last week… glad I waited!

    I’m a big fan of wall o’ water plant protectors. The water absorbs the heat during the day and radiates it back at night. They’ll generally protect even hot weather stuff like tomatoes down into the teens, so I usually leave them on until about mid-June.

    You can get some of the same effect by filling up old plastic bottles with water and laying them around your plants, but the wall o’ waters are nice because they pretty much make a little enclosed mini greenhouse for each individual plant.

    Glad your peas survived the cold! Mine are almost getting too tall for their frost cloth covering. I really hope this is the end of the cold weather!

    • I have always wanted to try those Wall ‘o’ Water contraptions – thanks for sharing your positive experience! I have also cut the bottoms off plastic gallon milk jugs and used those to start tomato plants with good results.

      • That’s a good idea on the milk jugs… if only I drank milk! 🙂

        Anyhow, if you do try the wall ‘o waters I’ve had the best luck when I use a tomato cage as a support – I put the thing on around the outside and sort of lean it up against the cage. That way it can’t fall over and smash the plant which has happened to me on more than one occasion!

  2. It’s been a really late spring here in Norway too. We didn’t have snow on May Day, but it was snowing other places in Norway, and it is still so cold! Still no sign of leaves on the trees or anything…
    I used May Day to plant some seeds for my vegetable-balcony-garden I hope to have this year 🙂

    • Norway! Sometimes I’m still amazed by the wonders of the internet and how we can communicate across oceans. Thanks so much for stopping by. I’m thinking positive thoughts about your balcony garden and would love to hear how it grows this summer!

  3. It’s starting to get cold here in Australia. I have just planted my winter vegetable seedlings. We don’t get snow where I live but we do get frost. We haven’t had any yet. I’m just having trouble keeping my chickens away! 🙂

    • Thanks for your interesting perspective from the other side of the world, Dawn. My son and I were just talking about how much we want to visit Australia someday. Good luck with those winter veggies! xoxo


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