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Making Citrus Frost Cloth Covers

Hello friends,

After buying a frost cloth cover from one of our local garden centres back in May, I wanted to make bigger versions for my three citrus plants before winter arrived.

Luckily I had some very thick frost cloth in storage from last year, so I tracked it down and then got to work. The frost cloth was 2 metres wide and many metres long, so I used the width of the frost cloth as the height for each frost cover. I wrapped the frost cloth length around each citrus plant, added extra space for wiggle room to fit it over the citrus plants, and then marked it out on the frost cloth. I decided that adding a zip was just extra work, and more expensive, so I didn't bother with it.

Once I had measured each plant, I went up to my craft room and cut off a length of frost cloth for each frost cloth cover. I then folded each section of frost cloth width wise, so that the width of the frost cloth formed the sides of the frost cover. The length of frost cloth that was folded in half then formed the top and bottom of the frost cover. With this done, I sowed along the top and the side of the frost cover. The bottom of the frost cover was left open for making the casing for the pull string, and to pull over the citrus plants when the frost cover was finished. I used a normal straight stitch on the sewing machine, and made sure the ends were well tacked down.

The next step was to sew a casing in the bottom of the frost cover, leaving a small opening so I could insert some nylon rope in a circle around the bottom. I purchased some general purpose nylon rope from Mitre 10, and some cord pullers from Spotlight.

After sewing the casing, it was time to unwind the general purpose rope, and insert it into the casing. This was when Rosie cat came to assist me, and she helped me add the rope and the cord pullers to all three citrus frost covers.

After making sure the cord pullers all worked, and tying the ends of the rope tight together, the frost covers were ready. After trying on each frost cover to the corresponding citrus plant, I labelled each one with a permanent marker.

It's now winter, and we've had multiple frosts now. The frost covers have been such an asset to have, as they are so easy to pull on and off. It's really been so much easier to protect my precious citrus plants from frost and snow. And to make the frost covers myself, it was just a crafty bonus.

Have a wonderful day

Julie-Ann

Want to discuss my post? Feel free to chat with me on Instagram or Mastodon or Bluesky.

Outdoor Citrus Frost Cloth Project

Hello friends,

Sometimes it's just easier to buy stuff you need for the garden, and especially when the task you need to complete takes up a lot of time.

We were in the local garden center the other day and spied a new product on the shelves. Egmont is now selling a frost cover with a drawstring and toggle, and the frost cover is zipped on for easy placement and removal. The frost cloth is commercial grade, and the fabric is 30 gsm. I didn't buy one at the time because the bag is only 80 cm wide by 100 cm tall. The bag wouldn't be big enough to fit any of my citrus plants.

But after thinking about it over the Easter weekend, the bag would be big enough to use as a template to make larger versions that would fit my citrus plants. I went out and bought one after Easter, and it was only $10, which is a pretty good deal considering how big the zip is.


As you can see from the photos the frost cover bag is a rectangle which has been folded in two halves with a zip down the middle. The top is sewn across with a heavy seam which won't rip easily. The bottom contains a fabric casing to hold a thick cord, which is held in place by a strong toggle.

I tried placing the frost cover over the smallest citrus plant I have, which is our mandarin bush, and as you can see it is pretty squished inside the frost cover. It definitely needs more space so that the branches don't get squished. But the frost cover was pretty easy to put on, and the thick cord and the toggle did a great job of keeping the frost cover in place.

So even though I can't use this frost cover to protect my citrus plants, I can use it as a template to make bigger versions that I can use. And afterward I can use this frost cover for my small Camellia sinensis tea plant over winter, so that is a good bonus for me. In the coming weeks I'll make up the template for the citrus plants, and build a trial one for testing.

I did ask the garden center if Egmont planned on making bigger versions, but she said that this product had only just come onto market, so not likely this year. They were going to pass on my suggestion for Egmont make bigger versions in the future.

My suggestion is if you do have smaller citrus plants, that the Egmont frost cover is definitely worth buying for your plants over the coming cold season. With it being easy to take on and off, it'll save you time and protect your precious plants from any frosts that do happen.

I just need to now pull out all my current frost cloth stash and see if I have any frost cloth that can be used for making some bigger covers for my own plants.

Have a wonderful day

Julie-Ann

Want to discuss my post? Feel free to chat with me on Instagram or Mastodon or Bluesky.

Frost Proofing My Outdoor Citrus Plants With Liquid Frost Cloth

Hello friends,

Autumn is here, and the Autumn equinox has just been, and so with it comes the increased risk of frosts. The earliest frost we've had at our home since I started keeping records was on the 6th of April 2019, which is only 17 days away from today's date. All it takes is one cold front to come through, followed by a cold clear night, and a frost is possible. We've already had a low temperature of 3˚C this month, so there's definitely now a risk to my frost tender plants.


Our citrus plants outgrew their pots in spring last year, so they can no longer sit inside the glasshouse over winter for protection. I planted them in the patio in October 2023, so they now need to be protected from frosts and snow over the coming autumn and winters.


I plan to do this in a number of ways. The first one, which I've just done, is to treat all my citrus plants with liquid frost cloth, which is called Vapor Guard in NZ (you can buy this from garden centers). It protects plants down to -3˚C frosts by forming a protective wax coating over the leaves. Vapor Guard lasts about 6 weeks, as rain and frosts slowly break down the protective wax coating, and then it's time to spray Vapor Guard all over again. I keep a note of the dates I spray in my garden diary, and also calculate the next spraying day six weeks from then.

Vapor Guard does not protect the plants below -3˚C, so frost cloth is needed to protect the plants during the colder parts of the year. My plan over the next month is to build wooden frames, and then to attach frost cloth over the top. I'll then move the frames daily into position to protect the citrus plants when needed.

To treat the citrus plants with liquid frost cloth I added 15 mL of Vapor Guard to 1L of luke warm water. After giving it a good mix, I sprayed the liquid frost cloth onto the plant leaves on a dry and warm sunny morning with no wind. I wore gloves and a mask while doing so. The 1L of liquid frost cloth spray was enough to spray my lemon, mandarin, and lime plants, and also enough left over to protect my Camellia sinensis (tea plant) too.

My plants then had the rest of the day to dry, and for the wax to set. They're now protected from frosts for the next 6 weeks, we don't usually get heavy frosts until late May/early June, so I now have time to build the protective frost cloth cages.

I'm relieved to have done this, as the last week has been quite rainy, which meant I couldn't get a window to get this garden job done.

There will be no blog post next week, as hubby and I are having a much needed staycation between Otago Anniversary Day and Easter. Well be relaxing and eating hot cross buns and chocolate, and I hope to make strawberry and raspberry jam as well. I'll post again in early April.

Have a wonderful day

Julie-Ann

Want to discuss my post? Feel free to chat with me on Instagram or Mastodon or Bluesky.

The Winter Citrus Gardening Project is Finished

Hello friends,

My winter citrus gardening project is finally completed. A couple of weeks ago, I dragged the citrus trees out of the glasshouse, and gave them each a trip on the wheel barrow out onto the patio. The next task was digging three very big wholes into the ground to make space for the citrus trees.

The first tree to go in was the lime tree. It only took a couple of bangs on the outside of the pot, and it loosened up enough for hubby and I together to lift the heavy plant into place.

Then it was just a task of filling in the hole, sprinkling both citrus fertilizer and water retention crystals onto the soil, and then watering the lime tree in.

Next up on the list was to do the same to the lemon tree, which is now sitting quite happily underneath the kitchen window in the herb garden.

And last of all was the mandarin tree, which is now sitting in front of the newly painted white fence in the front garden. If you've noticed the three green pegs in the ground, they're soil water monitoring sensors, which I can keep an eye on to see how much water each plant is getting. The pegs are connected to our weather station system, and I can check them online whenever I want.

I've repurposed the now empty large pots, and they're now housing three of our tomato plants, a yellow Honey Bee plant, a Pomodoro plant, and a Juane Flamme plant.

And last of all the planter box has been painted a pretty shade of sage green, and it is now full of annual herb plants.

I'm really happy with how this garden project has turned out. Now all I need to do is paint our patio garden furniture sage green, and then the whole area is spruced up. Over the summer I need to come up with a plan to protect the citrus from frosts and snow over winter, but for now I can just enjoy the fruits of my labour.

Have a wonderful day

Julie-Ann

Want to discuss my post? Feel free to chat with me on Instagram or Mastodon.

Winter Citrus Garden Project Part 2

Hello friends,

Recently I told you about my winter citrus garden project. At that time I had cleaned up all the areas the citrus plants are going to go into, and I had prepared the areas for painting. Over the last month I have painted the board white in front of where the lime tree will go.

I also spent time water blasting, prepping, and then painting the fence in front of the patio white as well, it looks quite good when it has plants like these daffodils in front of it. The other bonus of the fence now being white is that it's much easier to see when driving down the driveway, and it'll be far less likely for courier drivers to nearly hit it whenever they drop off courier packages because they failed to see it...

The other thing we did was to go to our local garden center and order a planter box for in front of the fence on the patio side. When the lemon tree goes into the herb garden on the left in the next couple of weeks, we lose much needed herb garden space, so this planter box will fill a much needed void. I plan to grow annual herbs in this box.

Until I get a chance to paint the planter box, Miss Luna cat from next door has taken to sitting inside it. It's less than a week now until Luna and her family move houses, and we won't get to see her anymore. I'm quite sad about this, she likes to follow me around in the garden, and has been a good kitty friend over the years.

Hopefully by the time you next see this project, it will be finished. The lemon, lime, and mandarin bushes will be in the ground, and the planter box will have been painted, filled with potting mix, and have herbs inside.

Have a wonderful day

Julie-Ann

Want to discuss my post? Feel free to chat with me on Instagram or Mastodon.

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