Here are a few top tips for growing your own during the colder months ahead
Protect crops from frost & strong winds
- Use a cloche tunnel or horticultural fleece – it’s fairly easy to create a small hoop polytunnel for tender crops, or you can just lay a sheet of fleece over rows of veggies and secure at the corners with heavy stones.
- Move pots into sheltered spots – either pop them up against the shelter of a wall, or move them to a part of the garden that doesn’t get frost and isn’t exposed to strong winds
- Not all plants need to be protected – kale and other brassicas should be ok in frost, most mustard leaves and oriental leaves will be fine too, but winter lettuces will benefit from protection from frost.
- Stake taller crops like broccoli and sprouts
Make root veggies easy to harvest when the ground gets too hard
- Either dig up a patch of soil in a sheltered part of the garden – e.g. up against a shed – once the soil is loose, you can pull up any root veggies from where they have been growing and bury them in the looser soil. Doing this will mean that you can easily pull them up when you want to cook with them.
- Or pull them up and store them in a cold, dark & dry cellar/shed
- If the ground is unlikely to freeze, then just leave them to grow as normal!
Help your plants to keep growing well as the weather turns colder
- Make sure pots have good drainage – wet soil quickly becomes freezing soil when the weather turns cold, so keeping moisture content down in pots will help.
- Clean down greenhouse windows/polytunnel covers – this’ll make sure the sunlight can get in more easily
- A 3-5cm organic mulch spread over the surface of the soil in active beds will help to protect your soil and all its little creatures from frost damage, and will keep soil temperature warmer for better growth too.