Gardening, Greenhouses, Guest Posts, Peter

Peter’s Garden: On Cold Frames and Greenhouses

Welcome to the first in a new series of guest posts! We will be having gardeners from all over the country tell us about their gardening experiences. Our first guest blogger is Peter.

Plants in cold frame

After that warm March we had, everything seems to have ground to a halt. I have picked out quite a few of the bedding plants to put into the greenhouse, which is now pretty full. I must clear the other bench of some of the stuff – pots, seed trays, etc. – that has accumulated.  I have a good size cold frame, and the bedding plants that I have put there seem to be doing as well as the ones in the greenhouse, so I guess I can put more in there. My greenhouse is unheated, excepted for a thermostatically controlled electric heater that is set very low against frost. It never comes on when I am in there, so hopefully it does not cost too much.

Peter's Greenhouse

On the vegetable front, the leeks in the seed bed outside are just appearing, but the spinach beet and turnips are noticeable for their absence. Perhaps the seed was too old, but last year it seemed crazy to plan to grow 1500 turnips, so I had quite a lot of seed left over – still do, so there’s a chance for another sowing.

Peter's seedlings

Spent some time digging out some of those perennials that people have given us that get infested with weeds to give space for the bedding plants. Geraniums are one culprit (not the pelargonium geraniums).
Hazel bushes
Must cut some more hazel for the climbing French bean, grown for the first time last year with great success. So much more productive than dwarf French beans, easier to pick and out of reach of the slugs! Must cut the hazel this weekend before it comes into leaf. Too much to do, not enough time!

–Peter

Gardening, How To

Winter Planting

The winter may seem an unlikely time for gardening, but provided you can withstand the cold for a short while, there are many plants that are best started in the colder months in preparation for spring. Tulips and crocuses are great ones to start off with. If you’re more into fruit and veg than flowers, why not try growing your own rhubarb? And since the ground may be quite solid, it never hurts to have a spare planter or grow bed lying around.

If the thought of labouring outside in the cold does not appeal to you, you can still continue to enjoy gardening within the comfort of your home. Window boxes and trough planters are slim lined and fit neatly on any window ledge, allowing you to continue to propagate your bulbs and seeds indoors, rather than relying on whatever the local florist can provide. Herbs in particular are great for indoor gardening and you can often find handy and affordable herb growing kits which will also sit on your window sill and are ideal for beginners and experienced gardeners alike.

At this time of year, protecting your more fragile plants and flowers from the frost and cold is a big priority. If you are anxious about leaving them open to the weather outside, it’s best to store them inside a greenhouse. However, if indoor space is an issue, do not despair! Fleecy plant covers are just the ticket to keep your garden plants protected from frost. Cheap, effective and easy to use, they just slip over the plant and keep it safe from the harsh winter weather while still allowing moisture and light to penetrate through to the plant

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