In her Pottering in the potting shed series, our garden editor Cinead McTernan, shares ideas for things to do in your plot. This month, keep plants warm from the winter frost.
"Most of us saw a snowflake or two earlier this month, and if not, there was definitely a chill in the air as a cold band swept the country. Freezing temperatures make us reach for an extra pair of socks to keep us warm and the same thoughts can apply to outdoor plants too. Even plants that are languishing in the relative protection of a greenhouse. While a layer of horticultural fleece will work wonders for any tender plants in beds and borders, you’ll need to add a bit of warmth to a greenhouse or potting shed too, to ensure that any seedlings you have started off or tender plants you’re overwintering will make it through extremely cold weather. Introducing a bit of heat before another frost will be enough to ward off any damage.
"There are great products on offer in a range of styles to suit all budgets. If you’re lucky enough to have electricity in your greenhouse or potting shed, the skies really the limit! Mains powered eco and fan heaters can cope with a large-sized greenhouse (from 8x8m) and can be controlled by a thermostat, which helps maintain the right temperature. Expect to pay from £75 to £200 depending on your requirements. Alternatively, you can use gas or paraffin heaters, which are cheaper to buy with prices starting from £20, are economical to run and ideal for smaller spaces (under 6x8m)."
"I’ve got a Mini Greenhouse Paraffin heater which is more than enough for my 6x6m potting shed. Four litres of paraffin will set you back about £7 to £8 and will keep burning for 7 days. Helpfully, you can adjust the flame to help regulate the temperature. For the first time this year I can embrace the beauty of a frost-covered garden rather than worry about my overwintering herbs, perennials and early-sown seeds!"
Words: Cinead McTernan
More from Cinead's Pottering in the potting shed series