08 Jun What are the advantages of cooler temperatures in your garden?
Frost can actually be good in your garden
Despite all the damage a frost can have on your garden there are some plants that actually need a frost for their fruit growth. Many fruit trees such as Cherries, Peaches and Apricots, require a certain number of days at a certain temperature to actually bring on fruit set. This is called the chill hours or chill units required for fruit production. It is the number of hours at or below 7 degrees that the fruit will need for the tree to exit dormancy, create buds and flowers and then to set fruit normally.
Some vegetables such as Carrots, Beetroots, Kale and Parsnips actually benefit from the cooler temperatures as it will enhance their flavours and make them taste sweeter. In the colder weather these more starchy based plants will try to combat the effect of the water inside their plant cells from freezing. They change the starches in their plant cells to sucrose, they produce more sugars and this help prevent the plant cells from freezing so that they can become more resistant to cold. Sucrose of course is a sugar so they in turn becomes much sweeter to eat. This is the same for Citrus trees as they enjoy having a certain amount of winter chill to allow the fruit to become sweeter as the colder temperatures trigger the fruit to produce more sugars.
A frost can also help destroy or suppress pests and disease. A very cold temperature might actually kill off some insects or fungal infections. It does not create ideal conditions for disease, pests and/or fungi to grow in. This will mean you have less work to do in your garden at managing these issues.