Last week, Mother Nature decided to throw the east coast of the U.S. a bit of a curveball. After an exceptionally warm April with plenty of sun, we were now having to prepare for frost and freeze warnings for a couple of nights. Having not really been through something like this as of yet as a fairly novice gardener, to say I was ill-prepared would be an understatement.

Preparing for Battle

Pepper preparation for cold weather

With just a handful of trash bags and an old tarp I set about doing what I could to protect my fledgling plants. Late in the evening, I brought the plants on the deck close to the house. I figured what little radiant heat it put off would be better than nothing. Each plant was then covered in a trash bag to help protect from the chill.

The plants down below the deck were also bagged and then covered with the tarp as they couldn’t really be moved closer to the house. I also set up a few bags of mulch we were preparing to spread as a wall on one side to help insulate. To say that the set up was pretty ghetto would be an appropriate statement.

Pepper preparation for cold weather
Pepper preparation for cold weather

The Aftermath

Having done what I could for my plants, I called it a night. The next morning the temperatures were still in the mid-30s — I believe that the low during the night was 32° — and I was unable to check the status of each plant until well into the morning.

I waited until the weather had warmed to the mid-40s before inspecting the plants. I was more than relieved to find that each plant had survived the cold in tact with little to no damage.

Pepper preparation for cold weather
Pepper preparation for cold weather
Pepper preparation for cold weather

Even after making it through that freak cold snap, Mother Nature wasn’t done with us. Following that chill, we’ve been getting soaked for the past three days with cold rains and no sun. The plants are still alive, but several are looking a little worse for wear and showing signs of overwatering. Fingers crossed that the next week is warm and bright.