Vegetable Gardening – How to Protect Your Crops From Frost and Bad Weather
In early spring it is possible to sow and grow early vegetables, but to do so requires crop protection, or perhaps growing indoors Vegetation Removal Melbourne under cover. It is crucial to avoid exposing your newly sown, or planted vegetables to extreme cold, wet, snow and icy conditions. Just to put this in perspective at the time of writing this article (End of March) we have had very strong, cold winds, heavy rain showers and a couple of storms where we have been blasted with hail stones up to 1cm in diameter. Any crops, or seedlings that were growing if not protected could have been destroyed in a matter of minutes without some form of protection.
This can mean using a heated greenhouse or poly-tunnel to help start some vegetables, or utilizing cold frames, cloches, forcing jars (e.g rhubarb), or fleece and floating mulches.
The use of these can also enable growing and harvesting later into the Autumn too. Use at beginning and end of season can lengthen the growing season considerably enabling a more productive and high yielding vegetable garden.
Greenhouses and Poly tunnels
For starting early crops and ornamental bedding plants greenhouses and poly-tunnels are worth their weight in gold, as they enable you to create a perfectly protected environment where you can control all aspects of your plants development. The temperature, airflow, and watering can all be closely monitored to achieve healthy vegetable plants.
These can be sown directly into modules, or in seed trays and pricked out later into individual pots. When all risk of frost has passed, the plants can be `hardened off` by placing outside during the day and bringing back in at night over a period of a few days, before being planted in their final growing position.
Cold frames can be used in a similar fashion to greenhouses and poly tunnels, but generally are not heated. These can be ventilated if the weather is warm by opening the top up, and can be insulated against the cold. They are a little more difficult to control the environmental conditions than a greenhouse but can work well.
Cloches are a more portable version of a poly-tunnel. They can be made from glass, or plastic sheeting over hoops, or rigid plastic. The idea is to cover a row or several rows of sown vegetables in situ with a protective tunnel. These can be closed, or open ended, although it is advantageous to be able to close the ends particularly in windy weather. The tunnels provide shelter from the cold, heavy rain, snow and wind to give the emerging plants a chance to thrive. For watering it may be helpful to be able to remove the cloches or install seep hoses, but for narrow cloches, watering should not require removal as water from the surrounding area should spread inwards.