Quick Tip: Milk Jug Hot Caps
I’ve used this method for almost two decades to protect tender young plants from frost in the garden. It’s fast, easy, and FREE! Start saving milk jugs early in the season in order to have enough when it’s garden planting time. Rinse the empty jugs and discard the lids. Cut off the bottom with a serrated knife or scissors (kitchen ones work well). Place carefully over the newly-planted plants and pile up the dirt generously around the jugs to keep them from blowing away. You may water through the hole in the top, or just sprinkle or soak (to the side) as usual. The water will work its way under the jugs to reach the plants.
I leave them on until all danger of frost has passed, and leaves start to poke up out of the hole in the top (the jug will be “full” of the plant). The tomato plants will be “jug-shaped” for a day, but quickly expand within a day or so. This method has been very effective against frost. These not only protect, but seem to encourage the growth and health of the plant. I happen to prefer these to walls-of-water. The plants seem to adjust better once the protection is removed.
Last year I didn’t throw them all away and we are using them again. Use them on tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, and any other plant that can’t deal with the cold. They work like a charm!