Since we’re in the middle of fall at the moment, going pumpkin picking is an appropriate activity for children and their parents. But with recent and sudden colder temperatures in the northern part of the country, and some areas experiencing snowfall, some pumpkins, as well as other fall crops, need protection from frost. Frost can decimate a crop, and, for a business dependent on pumpkin picking, protecting the pumpkins and other crops like gourds is important. One way to do this is with a tarp, as mentioned in a recent news item about pumpkin picking in Montana. While the article mentions that the pumpkins were covered with a tarp, other methods were used for protecting the pumpkins from frost or snow, as well.
The first step for protecting pumpkins or any outdoor plants with a tarp is being prepared. If colder temperatures are to be expected, having the appropriate materials on hand is helpful, as when the temperature drops, you’ll be able to cover the plants with a tarp as soon as possible. If a weather report states that your area will be experiencing lower temperatures, such as near or below the freezing point, the plants should be covered with a tarp to protect them from any frost forming on them during the night and early morning.
The tarp or tarps being used should be slightly larger than the area being covered. Having a tarp simply over a patch of vegetables or a garden won’t protect the plants by itself, however, as a tarp can move during the night. Instead, once you have a tarp large enough for the area, you should hold it in place. The most secure way is with stakes, such as garden stakes, and these can be hammered into the grommet spaces on the tarp. If you don’t have stakes and a hammer on hand, the next best thing is to use rocks or other heavy objects to hold down the corners and edges of the tarp.