When you’re growing vegetables in the fall and winter, root vegetables like beet are the best choice. However, you’ll still have to protect your plants from the effects of cold frosts since even root vegetables can’t survive extremely cold temperatures. So, is covering beets before a frost a good way to protect them?
You do not need to cover beets during a frost, but this depends on the temperature and humidity. If the temperature is a few degrees below freezing, you will need to cover your beet plants to prevent them from dying. However, beets can survive most fall and early winter frosts.
This article will look at whether beets are affected by frosts and how to protect your plants from extreme cold. It’ll also look at ways to insulate your beet plants and what you should do if they are affected by a frost.
Do Beets Need Protection From the Frost?
Beets do not need protection from the frost as long as the temperature is within a reasonable range. Unlike many other common garden vegetables, beets are hardy and can handle freezing temperatures.
However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect your beets from the cold. Beet plants will die if the temperature is a few degrees below freezing. Although the beetroots can survive the frost, it’s unlikely the beet leaves will survive if the temperature drops a few degrees below freezing.
It’s also important to cover your beet plants during frosts since they may survive a frost or two but can increase their risk of dying with each new frost. So, unless you live in an area where the winter frosts aren’t extreme, it’s best to protect your beets from the cold.
How Can You Protect Beets From the Cold?
You can protect beets from the cold in several ways. Watering your plants at the right time, growing the plants in a greenhouse, using a fan, and using an incandescent light bulb are all effective ways of protecting your plants from the frost.
Some plants only need protection from the frost in extreme cases, and beets are no exception. So, if the weather is so cold that you have to protect your beet plants from dying, try these methods:
Water the Plant at the Right Time
Watering the plant correctly can make the difference between it surviving or dying from a frost. While it’s usually best to water your plants in the morning in colder weather, you can also water them before sunset to protect them from frost. The wet soil won’t freeze as easily and may provide a layer of warmth around the plants at night.
You can also water the plants with lukewarm water to increase the humidity and air temperature around the plants at night. Even leaving a bucket of lukewarm water close to the plants will protect them from the frosts. As long as the ground doesn’t freeze, your beets should be fine in the frost.
Grow the Beets in a Greenhouse
If you’re growing plants in a greenhouse, you won’t have to worry about frosts affecting your plants. Greenhouses trap heat inside during the day and will remain above freezing even during the winter. The good thing about growing plants in a greenhouse is that the ground will be protected from freezing, even if it’s snowing or the ground is frozen outside.
Use a Fan To Prevent Freezing
Frosts are deadliest when there’s a lack of wind and air circulation around the plant. To protect your plants from frosts, use a fan to circulate the air around the plant, preventing the plant from freezing. While this works quite well, you’ll only need it if the temperature is so low that even beets are in danger of dying.
Use an Incandescent Light Bulb
Incandescent light bulbs generate heat that can protect your plants from extreme cold. However, you’ll have to place the bulbs close to the plants for the lights to have any effect. This solution is used for prize crops where you want to be 100% sure your plants survive the frost.
Place Mulch Around the Plant
Sprinkling wood chips or mulch around the plants can prevent them from freezing during the winter. This usually works best for plants that are susceptible to freezing, and the mulch will protect the plant from dying during the frost. Mulch is an excellent way to protect your beets from the cold since beet plants are very difficult to cover with a cloth or plastic cover.
What Type of Covers Should Be Used for Beetroot Plants?
As I have noted, beet plants don’t need covers to protect against the frost unless the temperature is a few degrees below freezing. If you need to protect the beet plant from the frost, there are various materials you can use to cover the plant.
Cloth covers are the easiest for beet plants, but you can also use plastic or special frost covers. However, it is highly unlikely that you will need to use a cover to protect the beets from frost.
Here are a few types of covers to protect garden plants from frost:
Covering your plants with cloth is the best way to protect them from the frost. You don’t have to wrap the whole plant in the cloth. Just place the cloth on the top part of the plant, and it will be safe from the frost. Make sure there are at least a few inches of space between the plant and the cloth so your precious beets can “breathe.”
Plastic isn’t ideal for covering your plants since it traps the moisture inside the plant and causes it to freeze. However, if you use it correctly, it’s an affordable way to cover your plants, especially if you have a large vegetable garden. Again, make sure you leave enough space between the cover and the plant to minimize the accumulation of moisture.
Special Frost Covers
Special frost covers are designed to protect the plant from freezing without causing moisture to get stuck under the cover. However, they are more expensive and only used for fruit trees, special bushes, or prized plants you want to protect in the winter.
At What Temperature Should You Cover Your Beets From Frost?
You should cover beets when the temperature goes a few degrees below 28 °F (-2 °C), as most root plants can survive at that temperature. Keep in mind that there is no set temperature for when plants will die from the cold, but most plants will usually die if the temperatures drop below freezing.
Temperature isn’t the only factor you should look at when protecting your plants in the winter. If the weather is cold but humid, the plants won’t be as affected by frosts. However, if the temperature is cold and dry, the plants are at greater risk of getting damaged.
The other factor to look at is the wind speed. If the weather is windy, the temperatures won’t be lethal to the plants. However, if there’s no wind and dry weather, you may need to cover your plants.
Can You Grow Beets in the Winter?
You can grow beets in the winter if the latter is mild to moderate. You cannot grow beets in the winter in places where there is a lot of snowfall and the ground freezes during the winter. Beets are cold-sensitive and can survive frosts but not freezing.
You can plant beets in the summer for harvesting during the fall or early winter. You can plant beets in the early fall in warmer areas, but you shouldn’t go further than that since the beets will grow much slower in colder temperatures.
Beet seedlings can tolerate near-freezing temperatures but are at risk of dying when the temperatures drop below freezing. For more information on how much cold beets and beet seedlings can tolerate, check out this article.
Beets are hardy and can survive freezing temperatures. However, if the temperature drops below freezing, you’ll need to cover the beet leaves to prevent them from dying. You can protect your plants from frost with mulch, cloth covers, fans, and by watering them in the evening.
Since beets are cold-hardened plants, it’s unlikely you’ll need to cover them to protect them from the frost. However, prepare to harvest your beets before the ground freezes unless you want to pick at the ice to get your beets!