KUSA — Cover up!

As temperatures plummet, take precautions to protect tender vegetation.

You may wish to bring some pots inside. It's worth saving geraniums, coleus, begonias and basil. Some pots may be too large to move easily. Cover these with cotton sheets or tablecloths. Insert bamboo stakes in the soil to support the cloth tent. Secure the cloth with clothespins or snack bag clips. Plastic covering isn't effective at keeping out frost. Cloth will protect plants from a light frost.

You may also wish to take cuttings of some annuals that are easy to root in glass jars on the windowsill. I mainly take cuttings of geraniums, bloodleaf, coleus and sweet potato vine.

You may also wish to cover tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables. Or you may decide to pick the remaining vegetables. Green tomatoes that have nearly reached full size will ripen indoors. Pick them with a bit of stem and just leave them on the counter to ripen. If all else fails, fried green tomatoes are always an option.

Some plants can tolerate more frost than others. If you have many plants to cover or bring inside, succulents and cacti can be left until last. They can take temperatures down to about 27 degrees.

Don't worry yet about summer bulbs such as cannas, dahlias and gladiolus. Allow them to frost. After the top growth has died back, cut it back and dig the bulbs to store over winter in a cool, dark place.