If you don’t have a greenhouse, then don’t be put off growing things like tomatoes, aubergines and peppers. These tender crops do much better in warmth, but that doesn’t mean you have to have a greenhouse or polytunnel. Here are a few top tips:
- Start warming your soil now, so that come spring when you plant out, the soil temperature in your outdoor beds is a bit higher. You can do this by simply laying black polythene over the soil.
- Make sure you plant them in full sun so that they get as much sunlight as possible.
- Try to plant your tender crops (tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, chillies, cucumbers, etc) in a well sheltered spot so that they are out of the wind. This will really help as they’ll be a bit warmer.
- Use horticultural fleece to keep plants warm. All you need to do is drape it loosely over the plants and secure at the edges/corners so that it doesn’t blow away.
- It’s quite easy to build (or buy) a mini polytunnel to be placed over the top of a raised bed. If you avoid tall crops like cordon tomatoes, and stick to bush varieties then this makes a very good solution.
- If you are just growing one or two plants, then you can always use a cloche. However, if you’re growing several tender plants then stick to the fleece or mini tunnel as above.
- Growing these crops in pots in front of a brick/stone wall can work really well as the wall will reflect heat on into the evening…