How to Protect Your Garden from Snow

Protect Your Garden from Late-season Snow

Plants Growing On Snow Covered Window Box At Yard
Jo Ann Fenstermacher / EyeEm / Getty Images

Many of us dealing with odd weather throughout the United States during the spring. Temperatures can vary, and you can go from a summer-like day to a blizzard, it seems, in a matter of hours.

Here in southern Michigan, we recently had about four inches of snow in the forecast. That came after a week of mild spring weather, including one day that teetered near 70°F. I've planted my cool season veggies already.

If you have done the same, you might be wondering how to best protect your garden from snow during early spring.

Is Garden Snow a Problem?

The first thing to keep in mind is that a day of snow is not likely to do much harm to your plants. The soil is already workable (or you would not have planted anything) and one day of weird weather is not enough to make it freeze up again. Even if there is a freeze, and even if yes, it is technically spring.

The only real danger that comes with snow is the weight of it on your vegetable plants, especially if they're still pretty small. A light dusting won't do much harm. But an inch or two covering tiny, newly planted veggie starts could mean you'll have to replant the garden. The weight can snap off stems or leave them so weak that they may not grow properly.

Covering Plants to Protect Gardens from Snow

To eliminate this issue altogether, your best option is to cover your plants.

You can use anything. Here are some ideas to cover your plants so they are not exposed to snow at all. That way, you won't have to worry about the cold or the weight of snow from harming them. 

  • Cardboard box: Use a cardboard box to cover plants--you could even cut in some holes on the sides for air. Just remove it as soon as possible to let your plants get the light they need, as the cardboard will prevent plants from getting light.
  • Plastic milk jug, juice bottle or soda bottle with the bottom cut out: These are good at fitting over individual plants
  • Plastic storage bin: A clear bin will protect the plant while letting light in. If it's not clear, remove the bin as soon as possible once the snow stops.
  • Plastic tarp or dropcloth, held up with garden stakes or large pots: This is another way to protect your garden from snow.
  • Plastic bag: Your standard grocery bag fits over smaller plants and can keep blooms from getting broken or too cold.

With just a little bit of preparation and caution, your early veggies will make it through a freak spring snow just fine. Good luck with your gardens this spring!