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Protecting plants from frost
We had our first frost the other night. The next morning we were out at 6am, clearing the car windscreen. The temperature rises during the day, but plummets mid-afternoon.
I wish I had popped the osteospermum that sits on my front door step into the greenhouse sooner. The leaves have become slightly downturned – a classic response to cold weather. However, the plant is probably salvageable.
Some plants, though, have hardly been affected at all. My small pepper plant is still sturdy and going strong, studded with little fruits. To help it along I covered it with the largest cloche I could find.
The strawberries, including the summer fruiters I mentioned in my last blog, are still producing fruit (unlike the raspberries). We harvest a cereal bowl full of sweet-yet-tangy strawberries every couple of days. Although they seem totally unaffected by the cold, I’ve protected some of them with a fleece-covered tunnel. Having seen the number of unripe strawberries, I simply couldn’t help myself.
The greenhouse tomatoes now feel icy to the touch when picked, but the plants are soldiering on. In previous years I have laid down my remaining outdoor tomato plants on a bed of straw, and covered them with a long cloche or a few layers of fleece. I like to ensure that the last few fruits reach the table. Unfortunately, this year my outdoor tomatoes have succumbed to blight.
There is something vaguely comforting about this time of year – it’s as if we’re ‘all in it together’. We can enjoy some bright warm days but we’re also starting to snuggle down for the winter. My veg plants benefit from the extra warmth provided by fleece and cloches. I like to keep out the cold by drinking twice as many cups of tea.
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