The fear of frost

If you have done any gardening, I don’t need to explain this one do I? You know exactly where I am coming from….or is it just me that has to dash outside in her nightwear to cover up plants as it suddenly “feels cold”?

Well, I got caught out. The fear of frost is real. I have lovingly tended to my first early potatoes which were planted in the greenhouse mid February and have happily romped away, growing strongly and steadily showing fresh, green foliage.

First earlies planted Feb 18th. Bags hold 2 seed potatoes, tubs 3 and the bin 4. Left to right, swift * 2, arran pilot * 4 and swift in the bin.

So when the weekend rolled round and temperatures were rising, I was too side tracked by my tomato and pepper plants surviving the cooler weather, that I distractedly followed my plan and placed the potato tubs outside, neatly along my onion bed (the one that survived the chickens getting in to the plot), gave them a water, topped them up (mounding) with rotted horse manure and went about my day.

When I woke up during the night, cold because Steven had stolen the covers, I thought about the tomato and pepper plants and happily turned over to go back to sleep, safe in the knowledge that they had an oil fired radiator and heated underpot heaters keeping them warm.

Meanwhile the poor potatoes were nithered and by the next day when I realised my mistake, they seemed want to give up the ghost. They were drooping, soft to touch, so soft, not nice soft. They actually looked like they’d dried out if you’ve ever seen a dehydrated plant that’s dropped over?

Anyway, by day 2 they were turning black on the tips which is a common symptom of being nipped by the frost.

Black on the end indicates nipped by Jack Frost

The good news is that they should recover, as long as I keep them covered if any more frosts are due that is! I’ve actually bought some heavy duty garden fleece to replace the cheaper stuff I bought. This is it if you are looking for some – I highly recommend it. Although it’s a little more expensive, it’s worth it and it can easily be made shorter with scissors but is thick enough that it won’t tear easily, which the fleece I’ve bought previously has done. I am trying to invest in longer lasting items now we are “going big” in the garden.

Every year, things will go right and things will go wrong. Some you will have been able to avoid but didn’t and some you will have tried to avoid but can’t. Don’t less it dishearten you, there will be plenty of other things that will go right 🙂

Take care, Tracy x

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