Let's fight back to return frosts!
What is spring return frost does not need to tell anyone. Unfortunately, in most cases, the literature considers only two methods of dealing with this negative phenomenon - smoke and sprinkling. But among the people, there are other effective measures to preserve the future crop.
The method of smoke is perhaps the most famous of all, although not the most used. It is he who is beautifully shown in films, given as examples. But, if you look, saving trees and shrubs with smoke is not so simple. Indeed, in order to prevent frost damage to the plantings, the garden must be completely immersed in a smokescreen. Let's look at how this is done.
It is possible to completely cover the garden plot with smoke only during the construction of bonfires at the rate of one per hundred square meters. It is necessary to lay in them not just firewood or old dry branches, but material that can smolder, giving out a large amount of smoke for a long time. It can be straw, dead leaves, dried grass ... It is beneficial to make bonfires large enough and tall (about 1.5 m wide and at least 0.5 m high) so that they can last until morning. For greater effect, the smoldering mass is covered with earth, leaving a small hole for smoke to escape. Bonfire must be located on the leeward side.
This is a theory. But what about practice? Practice shows that even a small wind is able to carry smoke from the cultivated area, for example, to neighbors who are unlikely to be happy with the smells brought from you, and reduce the work to nothing. Moreover, relying on the fact that the frost is getting worse in the morning, it is nevertheless necessary to monitor the bonfire so that it is not at that moment that its reserves are exhausted. In addition, this method slightly increases the temperature and therefore is acceptable only in frosts down to - 4 ° C.
Bonfires are also ineffective even in calm weather - the smoke stands in one place without covering the territory. Therefore, in order to send him some desperate gardeners use, as it sounds strange, a vacuum cleaner. Spraying the fire with water, they direct the "tousled" smoke in the right direction, thereby regulating its distribution throughout the territory.
Surely each of us has heard about smoke bombs, but it is advisable to use them on large areas - on small ones this measure is unprofitable.
More effective and easier to reproduce is the method of sprinkling or irrigation of crops. It is especially advantageous where well-thought-out stationary irrigation with sprinklers is installed. However, if your site does not have an irrigation system, you can use a regular hose with a diffusion nozzle.
What is this technique? The fact that the moisture that has got on the plants, at low temperatures begins to evaporate, heating the air and preventing the frost from dropping to the ground. However, here you need to be careful and carry out rescue watering literally a few hours before the temperature column approaches the zero mark. Often it is about 3 o’clock in the morning, because, again, the most damaging frost at dawn is about 5 o’clock in the morning. But the method is worth keeping it in service, because it gives good indicators in frosts even up to -5 and - 7 ° С.
And again the water!
The same method is often used in another variation, especially when it comes to the garden. In order for the trees not to freeze and not discard the color, abundant water-charging irrigation is carried out under them, about 5 - 10 buckets under one tree, preferably with water, heated to + 10 ° С. Or put on the perimeter of the crown of the tank with water. Or, again, spray the branches by sprinkling. Otherwise, everything works the same way - moisture evaporates, slightly warming the air and not allowing frost to destroy plants.
The application of film in gardens is also based on the same principle. In order to save trees from frost, and they are most afraid of stone fruits, under the crown, after watering the trunk circle, a transparent film is lined up from lunch (black is not suitable for this method, since it does not let heat into the soil). In the midday sun, the earth manages to warm up and begins to soar. By the onset of frost, the film is removed - warm steam rises up into the crown, driving frost away from the soil and keeping the plants from freezing.
An even simpler and more effective technique is the use of covering materials. This is perhaps one of the most favorite method by gardeners. It consists in covering the plants during the period of frost with a protective agent that keeps them from contact with the external environment. Everything is used - mini-greenhouses covered with foil or spanbond, glass bottles, cut plastic bottles, caps made of thick paper ... The main thing is to build such shelters so that the leaves of the plants do not touch the covering material.
One of the effective means are siderates. They are planted on beds in advance, allowing them to grow and develop freely. Then, overgrown plantations prepare holes and plant eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins and other heat-loving crops in them. After the threat of freezing frost has passed, the siderates are cut off and left in the aisles as mulch.
This technique is most suitable for potatoes. For its implementation, it is necessary to arm with a hoe, and the sprouts that appear above the ground with 3 to 5 first leaves, carefully spud with earth, in a layer of 7 to 10 cm.
Organic mulch refers to straw, compost, or dried grass. If it is overlaid with beds or plants that are bent to the ground, the effect will turn out to be quite good. But the fact is that such a covering material significantly reduces the heat transfer of the earth and increases humidity above its surface. Based on these properties, it is better to line it after evening watering.
Foliar top dressing
The foliar top dressing of plants gives a sufficiently strong effect. It consists in introducing cultures, through spraying with mineral phosphorus-potassium fertilizers, phosphorus and potassium, which simulate a decrease in the content of free water in cells, an increase in the accumulation of sugars and a concentration of cellular juice, which helps plants resist low temperatures. Apply this technique a day before the onset of frost, which allows you to cope with frosts up to - 5 ° C.
In the same way it affects plants and root phosphorus-potassium fertilizing. However, it is carried out 10 hours before lowering the thermometer to critical temperatures.
A good method of protecting the future crop from spring back frosts are warm beds. Based on the laying of a powerful organic pillow, they simply warm the crops from below, and if you cover them with agrofibre, which is able to keep the temperature difference with the environment up to 12 ° C - you get a real greenhouse!
Sometimes it is necessary to protect greenhouses from severe cold weather. Here, too, there are different approaches: someone puts bottles of warm water around the perimeter of buildings, someone warmed up bricks, and someone just put electric heaters. If necessary, you can cover the greenhouses with mats or blankets - this technique is especially effective for prolonged temperature drops. And do not be afraid that such shelters block the light - in the cold season, plants can survive without light for about 7 days.
However, if your plants have nevertheless been adversely affected by small short-term frosts, do not despair - they must be treated with special antidepressants to relieve stress experienced from the cold. And here a good helper, especially for tomatoes, is - Epin. But, if eggplants or peppers are frozen, it is better to part with such plantings right away, replacing them with new ones, since these crops will no longer be restored to a full-fledged crop.
An excellent measure against annual plant losses from return frosts is planting planning. Stone fruits should not be planted in lowlands, vegetables should be planted on ridges ahead of time, and varieties not suitable for given climatic conditions should be selected. Reasonability - brings benefits in the expected harvest, and the time spent on planning - confidence in the future.
Each climate zone has its own temperature features. Therefore, which of the above methods of rescue from return frosts is better - it is difficult to say. What is good for one site may not be effective for another. However, remember, choosing what to apply for yourself - focus not on the simplicity of the method, but on what your garden has to face and you will succeed!