Protect Winter Crops

Heavy rain, hail showers, frost and strong winds are not the most plant-friendly conditions. If you haven’t yet prepared your plants, then get out into the garden when you can to protect them. Here’s a quick checklist:

  1. Make sure pots don’t become waterlogged – move them under shelter or raise them up slightly (e.g. – pop them onto a platform of bricks or an old pallet) so that they can drain more freely
  2. Cover young, outdoor crops – a sheet of horticultural fleece will help to keep plants a little warmer and will protect them from frosts. Try to prop it up in the middle so that hail and rain can fall off rather than collecting on top of the fleece. A short bamboo stick with an upturned jar on top makes a good prop!
  3. Use cloches – If you’re not growing a huge amount outdoors then a few cloches can really help to protect plants from the elements.
  4. Stake and Earth Up taller plants – mature broccoli, cavolo nero and sprouts struggle in strong winds. To prevent them from toppling over, earth them up well or, better yet, stake them.
  5. Batten down the hatches – polytunnels and greenhouses can often take a battering at this time of year. We lost a polytunnel last weekend. Make sure they are well secured and that doors and windows are closed properly etc.