Frost protection: how to keep growing during winter

This page focuses on growing in a cool climate, which typically in Australia and New Zealand are areas which experience hot summers but frosts in winter.  Therefore in late autumn and early spring, frost protection can be required to aid some varieties of vegetables to tolerate the cooler times.

The idea of frost netting is it traps a pocket of warm air so that the temperature around the plant doesn't reach freezing.  For some plants, when the plant cells freeze, the ice crystals puncture the plant cell walls, which means when the plant defrosts, it dies.  For other plants, the issue is that when the sunlight melts the frost off the leaves, it actually ends up burning the leaves of the plant. So here are some ways to protect your plants...

Frost netting

It's not actually netting at all.  More like fleece.  It comes in a long roll and can be used to cover just about anything.  You can use stakes or poles to create a tent, or simply just lay it over the top of your plants.  

Bubble wrap

This is a DIY option for the frost netting which will likely appeal to the sustainable followers.  It works the same.  However, make sure you do have a small area open to allow airflow (see below).


I would use this option more often in spring than in autumn, simply because of the size.  The effect of placing a cloche over the top of a seedling is to create a mini greenhouse.  Ensure that you create small trenches in the soil to allow water to run in, and air flow.  

Glass jars

I have never actually purchased a cloche, but have DIYed one by using a glass jar.  I find the largest Moccona coffee jars ideal for this, so make friends with coffee addicts.

Cold frame

These are used quite often in parts of the world which receive snowfall.  But there is no reason you couldn't use it in frost only areas.  It is a garden bed that has a glass lid.  You could easily upcycle a window for this purpose.  In spring and summer the lids are propped open, and in winter they are closed except when harvesting.


This is an obvious one but an option none the less.  You can get greenhouses in a wide variety of sizes.  There are even smaller lean to options which look like a glass/plastic cupboard.

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