Brrr, it’s still pretty chilly out there eh?
Temperatures have been dropping perilously low over the past few days, and I’ve been taking no risks and doing all I can to protect my delicate seedlings from any frost that might decide to strike.
I’m lucky enough to have a greenhouse, so any plants growing in there will have an extra layer of protection to start with, but what other precautions can you take against a snap frost?
Here are 7 tips for protecting your young seedlings if the temperatures dip.
Watch the weather forecast.
Of course, this sounds like the most obvious tip in the history of Real Men Sow, but it’s often something I fall foul of. The sun’s out, washing is drying on the line and Lewis is playing in the garden. Naturally, I think everything will be fine. How could we possibly get a frost?
However, Springtime is notorious for sudden drops in nighttime temperatures, and just this week have I only guarded against frost because Countryfile happened to mention it on Sunday evening.
Cover up your plants
Cover with purpose-made horticulture fleece. This meshy substance will protect your seedlings by raising the temperature a degree or so. Bubble wrap is a cheap alternative if you can’t find fleece but remember to take it off in the morning as it can sweat the plants.
Grow in pots
I sow most of my seeds in pots now, before planting out when they reach a few inches high. There are a number of benefits to this, one of which is their mobility. You can easily move the plants under cover if frost is forecast.
Group your plants together.
You can also place your pots close together to create a microclimate around them. This will help raise the temperature enough to beat a frost as well.
Don’t plant out too early
If you do grow in pots, remember not to plant out too early as not only will your plants suffer in temperatures they aren’t ready for, you’ll lose that ability to move them inside.
Generally, I aim to plant out my more delicate seedlings such as tomatoes, squashes, French bean, and courgettes at the beginning of June.
Don’t plant in frost traps
Where you plant out can also affect the survivability (is that a word??) of your seedlings.
Frost can be more prevalent in slopes or behind fences and hedges, and also decreases the growing season in that area. Avoid planting out Summer veg here if you can.
A good way to identify frost pockets is to check out your garden or plot on the morning of a frost. You’ll easily be able to see where your growing space is more susceptible.