During winter, crops are mostly damaged by frost and other hostile weather conditions. During this season, the quality and production of both fruit and vegetable crops can get affected, thereby, causing heavy losses. Since, leaves, flowers, and fruits tend to dry out, the dryness can also cause outbreaks of bacterial diseases. These can emerge in the form of spots that can appear on fruits, thereby, spoiling their appearance and taste.
The temperature which causes damage to crops may vary. Although some vegetable crops taste better with frost some other crops get damaged due to frost. Root crops develop better when the temperature is below 5 degree Celsius. For instance, Brussels sprouts are best harvested after a light freeze.
Vegetables like artichoke, beets, celery, cucumbers, beans, pumpkins often get damaged in the range of temperature from 0.5 to 0 degree Celsius. However, in the case of vegetables like Asparagus, cucumbers, spinach, and radishes, they can get damaged when the temperature is between -1 to 0 degree Celsius.
To protect the crops from harsh winters, you can ensure the following measures.
- Cover the plant
By covering with a blanket or row cover, crops can be protected from frosts. It also helps to keep the plants warmer. Sometimes an early freeze is only an isolated freak incident followed by many days of favourable weather conditions. Therefore, it is recommended that you cover your crops. For a shorter period of cold, you can cover the plants with mulch, such as straw or leaf mold. You can later remove them once the danger of frost passes.
- Cover the Tender Sprouts
To cover the tender sprouts or smaller plants, you can use “hot caps” from recycled milk or soda bottles with the bottoms cut out, paper bags, or newspaper tents. You can also use soda bottles by cutting a 2-litre clear plastic soda bottle in half.
- Take Care of Containers
Wet potting soil can prove to be the biggest enemy of your crops during winter. You should make adequate drainage by placing containers onto pot feet. To prevent the crack of containers during the winter season, wrap pots in bubble plastic or burlap. Lastly, Move pots to a more sheltered place.
- Protect Soil
Soil is the most important thing for the development of a plant. Therefore, you should never ignore the protection of soil. Add a thick layer of organic matter to the surface to preserve soil life and protect the soil from erosion.
- Take the Help of Smoke
Smoke will also help the plants to get protected from winter. Therefore, raise sufficient smoke in the evening across all four sides of the field.
By spraying 0.1% solution of sulphur in rain-fed areas, crops will be less affected by dew. Fruit plants can also be protected from damage by spraying nitrogen fertilizer and other nutrients.
- Reduce Dew
In case of areas where frost occurs frequently, start growing crops such as beetroot, carrot, wheat, radish, barley, etc to reduce the negative effects of dew.
- Design Your Garden to Prevent Frost
If you design your garden while ensuring frost prevention, you can save your plant in a more effective fashion. If the slope of your garden faces the sun, it will help your garden to warm up easily as residual heat in plants and soil may determine whether your garden will sustain frost damage during the night. If your garden is sloped facing the south, then it will get more exposure to the sun. Moreover, you should avoid planting tender species in open, exposed areas or in low spots where cold air can settle.
Furthermore, you can protect your plants by using a number of medicinal compositions that are available both online and offline. You can also buy such medicines from Safex Chemicals India Limited which is one of the leading agro-chemical companies in India.