Horticultural fleece: your best friend for winter growing

Well some parts of the country may have had a heat wave (not Cornwall!) but autumn is here and summer crops are coming to an end. So it’s time to start getting all that autumn veg planted in your veg plot to keep you going over the winter.

Growing at this time of year is fairly straightforward, but it has its challenges too. Luckily, some clever person came up with the idea of horticultural fleece. They frankly deserve a medal, because horticultural fleece is a winter grower’s best friend. Here’s why:

  1. It protects plants from frost.
    We get lots of good morning frosts in the UK, but this doesn’t have to mean that your veg plants suffer. It’s easy to cover a whole row of plants with horticultural fleece to keep them protected.
  2. It keeps birds off.
    Pigeons will have a lovely feast from your veg patch if they find any cabbages or broccoli plants to nibble at but horticultural fleece will keep your plants hidden and safe.
  3. It’ll protect brassicas from cabbage root fly.
    Cabbage root fly isn’t such a problem at this time of year, but it’s wise to protect brassicas so that you don’t get an outbreak next spring.
  4. You can use horticultural fleece to stagger harvesting.
    If you grow half your veg plants under horticultural fleece, they’ll grow faster than the other half, so you’ll get a better supply of veg throughout the season.
  5. It raises temperatures.
    Plants will grow better with the extra warmth. Simple.
  6. It’s easy and faff free.
    You can simply drape the fleece over the plants and pop a few bricks or stones around the edge to keep it in place. You don’t have to go to the extent of building frames and hoops. Done this way, you can throw it on and take it off as you see fit, which makes it a little more flexible.
  7. Sun and rain still get through.
    This is the real benefit of fleece over a cloche, which doesn’t allow the rain water to fall on the plant.

The only drawback? It can fly away in strong winds…so be sure to peg it down properly if the wind gets up!