Frost damage is hard if not impossible to recover from. Plants cost a lot of money. Plus if you've grown them from seeds or cuttings, then an awful lot of research, time and anxious moments too! So you don't want early frost to catch you out. This could at best set their growth back and at worst kill them off.
The RHS offer several ways to avoid frost damage. Some for the start of the winter and some for the end:-
Garden design - where to plant
- Choose plants that are reliably hardy and suited to your growing conditions.
- Cold air flows downwards on sloping ground, collecting at the lowest point creating what is known as a 'frost pocket' - avoid planting tender plants in areas such as this.
- Grow slightly tender plants in a warm sunny spot like a south-facing wall, to provide extra warmth and winter protection
Protection from Early Frosts
- Cover plants with a double layer of horticultural fleece when frost is forecast
- Mulch the root area of evergreens, conifers, tender shrubs and tender perennials with a thick layer of organic matter to prevent the ground becoming frozen
- Move container grown plants to a sheltered part of the garden in cold weather and provide some extra protection by wrapping the pot in an Easy Fleece Jacket
- Leave the previous seasons’ growth on more tender plants until spring, to provide valuable frost protection
- Lift Tender plants or move them to a more sheltered position or greenhouse. Ensuring that adequate heating and insulation is in place to prevent damage.
- Protect fruit and strawberries from frost by covering with an Extra Thick Fleece Blanket
- Avoid applying nitrogen-rich fertilisers late in the season as they stimulate soft growth which is especially vulnerable to frost damage
Protection from Late Frosts
- Plant tender bedding plants out after the danger of frost has passed; this is generally late May in the south of England and June elsewhere. Always harden plants before planting outside
So choosing the right plant in the first place is clearly a good idea. As is, moving them to the greenhouse if you have one, or a more sheltered spot. A good solution but not always possible with larger heavier plants. As the RHS recommend a great alternative as autumn approaches and early frosts threaten is to use a fleece. The Haxnicks Easy Fleece Jacket. is a simple way to protect exotic plants, hanging baskets and other semi-hardy plants in pots patio containers.
You may have used horticultural fleece, bought off a giant roll at the Garden Centre? But this is unruly and requires securing. The fleece jacket is quicker and easier. Slip it over your plant and the job is done. Secure with the integral, rot-proof drawstring and locking toggle = instant protection against frost, harsh weather and pests.
Or if your crops are in rows then, you might choose the Easy Fleece Tunnel instead. It has all the advantages of both Net and Poly Tunnels because it creates warmth and insulation whilst allowing water and sunlight to filter through to the plant.
All of these have the advantage that not only will they protect crops this end of the season but, laid over the soil in Spring they can bring it up to temperature before all your friends. This allows you to sow or plant out weeks ahead of others. As a result it will extend the growing season and hopefully reward you for your care with an increased yield.
Haxnicks Easy Fleece Jackets are available in three sizes, priced at £7.99 per pack