Do’s and Don’t’s with Edible Plants After a Freeze

Even if you prepared your garden for a freeze, there may be plants that don’t survive or that get damaged.

So, what should you do (and not do) with your garden plants after the temperatures drop below freezing?

What To Do With Your Plants After a Freeze

Take a walk the next morning to observe how your plants handled the freezing temperatures

After a night with temperatures below freezing, bundle up and go for a walk around your garden, checking in on plants and taking notes of how they look. This information will be invaluable to you when planning your next fall/winter garden and preparing for dropping temperatures.

  • While on your walk, if you notice any plants that are mushy, remove them because they won’t be able to bounce back. I prefer to put gloves on before doing so because it’s a bit messy. The plants are typically gooey when touched. You can toss these into the compost pile.
  • If there are plants that seem to be stiff, have black tips on their leaves or just don’t look like themselves, leave them alone for now.


  • Go for another walk the next day (and again in another few days) to check on plants again as some may bounce back that you didn’t expect. Take notes of these as well.

frosty lettuce

What NOT To Do With Your Plants After a Freeze

Don’t prune your plants after a freeze

This will only cause more stress and make it harder for the plants to recover. If you have more frosts and/or freezing temperatures heading your way, as hard as it may be, keep your pruning shears put up. It’s better for your plants to wait until the temperatures warm up to prune off damaged foliage.

Don’t feed or water your plants immediately after a frost or freeze

Your plants need some time to recover. It’s important to still water on a consistent schedule, but plants need much less water in the winter months.

Don’t harvest your plants right after a freeze

It’s best to wait for the temperatures to warm up on plants that you suspect have damage. (If your plants are completely fine and you need some kale for your breakfast, go for it!)

Don’t keep your plants covered just because nighttime temperatures were below freezing

Keep them covered when the temperatures warm back up. It’s important to stay on top of weather fluctuations this time of year as the day and night temperatures can have a large range. If your daytime temperatures are warming up to well above freezing, it’s best to uncover your plants and let them heat up with the sun without getting too warm under the covers.

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