Ever put tender plants out too soon in Spring? Guess you won't agree with the title of this post if you've had to watch them wither from an unexpected late freeze. But believe me, frost can be your best friend, particularly if you've got heavy soil.
First, how to avoid losing plants. Just don't plant tender specimens like tomatoes outside until all risk of frost has passed. That generally means the end of May. If you can put a cover over the plants you might manage mid May.
So how can frost be your friend? Well, garlic cloves benefit from a dose of frost to encourage the bulbs to split. And there's an improved flavour for leeks. But it's the effect of frost on heavy ground that's the main benefit.
My old allotment was on heavy clay. The kind of allotment you would stay well clear of in winter... unless you wanted to be six inches taller from the mud sticking to your boots. Needed digging over every year.
The Italians on my previous site knew a thing or two about allotments. They had frost utilisation off to a tee. By October the whole plot would be dug over, well before it became too soggy to stand on. And they would leave the biggest clumps of earth they could. No attempting to break down the clods. Doing this enabled a deeper penetration of frost into the ground.
The end result? After a light raking in Spring, they were left with a fine tilth of soil ready for planting. So if you've got heavy soil, put a note in your diary for the beginning of October to give your plot a good seeing to with that spade!