Thursday, 20 April 2017

Frost protection

After some "unseasonably warm" weather in early April, this week we are experiencing much colder conditions, particularly at night time. In view of this I thought it might be interesting to show you the methods I use for protecting my tender plants.

I am not a great believer in spending vast amounts of money on garden "hardware", but I have a variety of different cheap-and-cheerful products that give an acceptable degree of protection without breaking the bank. Also, I am quite careful with my kit - I look after it and make it last quite a long time, thus assuring good value for money.

At present, these are the most useful - the contraptions called "Seedling Greenhouses". They are great for accommodating my container-grown potatoes.

The only problem with these is that they are not very tall (they are designed for seedlings, after all), and the potatoes are beginning to get too tall for them. The logical next step is this:

That trio of 2-tier mini-greenhouses is worth its weight in gold! I use them a lot. Right now they are housing the potato plants that have got too tall for the Seedling Greenhouses. Unfortunately, each greenhouse only holds one potato plant, so the unlucky ones get this...

Yeah, fleece. Probably the most cost-effective form of frost-protection. From my point of view the big problem with this is that it is traditionally sold in long thin rolls - which are never wide enough! This one of mine is only 1.5 metres wide. I wish they made fleece in wider widths. Still, with a bit of ingenuity, it can be put to good effect:

In the background of that photo above you can see my four "Longrow" cloches. They are each 1.2 metres long and 40cm tall. To be honest, they are probably better at protecting plants from damage by animals than by frost. For one thing, the end pieces went West long ago. They were extremely flimsy and completely unfit for purpose.

We mustn't forget the big wooden Gabriel Ash coldframe. This is an old photo. The coldframe is full of plants right now. By the way, this coldframe definitely doesn't qualify as cheap-and-cheerful! You may remember that I didn't buy it - Jane won it for me in a competition.

Here are a couple of general shots of my plot, with most of the frost-protection kit visible:


P.S. Re the St.George's mushrooms: I cooked them with Wild Garlic from the garden, and cream, and served them with potato cakes and crispy bacon. I thought they were delicious, but Jane didn't like them. She said they tasted like burnt plastic! In her defence I'll say that she likes scallops and tuna and salmon - all of which I find utterly repellent.


  1. I like this round plastic covers. I could used them in my garden today - it is still snowing. I guess, it isn't so bad as the snow acts as protective cover from the possible frost. It is supposed to be warmer on Saturday.

  2. I do not comment very often, but I really enjoy your blog and thank you for taking the time to provide very good tips. They are so helpful. Lis

  3. One disadvantage of gardening an open, windswept plot is that most of the methods you use would either blow away or 'disappear' through some other means. Also we don't go to the plot frequently enough to uncover or water as necessary. I often wish that we had a much bigger garden.

  4. I am jealous of your warmer clime Down South. To steal a march I've shelled out on a paraffin heater for my small greenhouse this year. It's only been used once so far but I am anticipating further deployments in the coming week! I won't be using it for potatoes though. They are all underground some miles away at the plot and haven't emerged yet.

  5. Hi Mark, I love your blogspot! I have learned lots of good lectures in gardening from you.
    I remember you had a try with lemon grass. I am wondering how they're going now?

    1. Hi Lisa, I did an update on the Lemongrass on 7th April - it's here:

  6. Sorry, I've missed that post. The lemongrass look fabulous. I will try to grow them from seed this summer time! Thanks for the reply!xxx


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