NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Hard Freeze Warning that will go from 12:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. Wednesday morning. The warning will be in effect for the middle and lower Rio Grande valleys, the Albuquerque Metro Area, south Central Highlands, Eastern San Miguel County, Guadalupe County, and Quay County.

Temperatures during this period are expected to be as low as 20 degrees. The NWS says freezing conditions could kill crops and other sensitive vegetation along with possible damage to unprotected outdoor plumbing.

How can I protect my plants/garden?

Researchers at Michigan State University say cold-sensitive plants should be brought into a garage or heated area overnight. They can be returned when the temperature warms.

For those with gardens, they can be covered with winter blankets or frost fabric which uses heat from the ground to keep the vegetation from freezing. The use of hoop houses is also recommended.

The university also suggests using frost to irrigate plants because of the small amount of heat released when ice formed on the plants melts, which protects them from freezing temperatures. You can also bring in a wind machine to bring warmer air in an inversion layer back down to the ground to warm up the crop canopy layer. This can be used for small and tree fruit production.