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Knowle Nets shares 5 top tips for protecting your crops during the winter months

By Sophie King
10th December 2021

Although the end of the year has been milder than many, there’s proper winter weather on the horizon for us all. Thoughts are turning to the best way to protect our gardens from frost damage and ensuring that vulnerable plants are well looked after during the cold months ahead.

Here are 5 top tips from Knowle Nets to help you avoid getting caught out:

Group container-grown plants together

Grouping your potted plants together helps create a microclimate to protect each other – this also makes it easier to cover them over quickly and water in one go. Ideally, find a spot facing south or west with some protection – having them near the house will help you keep an eye on things.

Use a covering

Fleece, hessian and jute all make good protective coverings for plants, either individually or over a whole bed. Fleece fabric has the advantage of not only protecting from frost, but also allowing light and moisture to filter through, and it’s easy to fold up and store when not required.

Easier still, you can use Easy Fleece Jackets to create a warmer microclimate – just pull over the pot or plant and fasten at the bottom. Pots can be ruined by frost damage, too, so make sure you cover right to the ground in really cold weather.

Move particularly tender plants to the greenhouse or indoors

Tender plants can be overwintered in a cold frame or under a polythene cover such as a grower system or cloche. Keep them well ventilated to avoid rot and don’t forget to water regularly as the polythene will not allow rainwater in.

If you have space for a polytunnel then this gives you the ultimate solution – a space not only to protect your plants but also somewhere to work away from the wind and weather!

Use natural insulation

It sounds unlikely, but in fact snow can help to insulate your plants, especially from cold, drying winds. Make sure you still clear snow from tree branches and conservatory/greenhouse roofs, though, as snow can become heavy and cause damage.  Leaf mulch, homemade compost and straw all provide natural protection for the roots of dormant plants in the border – dress your beds with a thick layer in late autumn while the soil is still warm.

Keep watering

Plants lose lots of moisture in the cold, dry air, so make sure you keep up with watering if they need it. Little and often will help prevent stress in the plant and improve their natural resistance to the winter weather. Too much water in very cold weather risks freezing the ground around the roots, so avoid overdoing it and make sure pots don’t become waterlogged – they will freeze solid if the night-time temperature plummets!

See Knowle Nets for a full range of year-round plant protection and garden accessories.

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