KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The hard freeze warning has homeowners across the metro scrambling to protect their plants.

It’s been a hard year for gardeners, too wet early on, and then too hot and too dry for much of the growing season. It’s been a challenge for many to keep their plants thriving.

Many vegetables came in late this year, so if you still have fruit on the vine, experts at the Soil Service Garden Center say you should plan on harvesting it before the overnight freeze.

For flower gardeners, house plants and tropical plants that have spent the summer outdoors also need to be moved inside.

“If you have some good-looking tomatoes that are going right now, I would go ahead and harvest those,” A plant expert at Soil Service Garden Center, Kyle Darrow said. “Get them ready to eat or preserve them, whatever you do with them.

“Anything else that’s out there, anything not completely ripe yet, throw your frost guard, even a bed sheet over it will do a lot better than just being exposed to the elements.”

With all the watering that’s been taking place for the last month or so, it’s also important to disconnect hoses overnight.

Use gravity to drain hoses so the water inside won’t freeze overnight.

You also can give plants that will remain outdoors a good watering. Darrow says water helps insulate and protect plants.

Darrow says fall flowers like mums and pansies are hardier and can survive a night or two of below-freezing temperatures.

Warm season annuals that you want to keep should be moved inside now.

Darrow says they don’t have to have a lot of suns, just protected from the cold.