How To Store Plants In The Winter

The cold winter months can wreak havoc for our gardens. Although the likes of trees and shrubs are hardy enough to survive throughout winter, plants such as annuals and some perennials may need extra care to survive.

There are a number of ways to store and protect your plants during winter. The ideal storage method for each individual will vary, depending on your budget and the quantity of plants you wish to store.

Let’s take a look at four of the most common plant storage methods.

Cloches

What are they?

One common protection method that is widely used is a cloche. A cloche is a cover that is placed over outdoor plants to protect them from frost and low temperatures. Cloches can be made from a variety of materials such as, plastic, polythene, fleece and mesh. The idea of a cloche is to increase the temperature by trapping daytime sunlight and insulating the plants. it also acts as a barrier for harsh weather conditions such as, frost, rain, wind and hail.

When to choose a cloche?

Cloches are ideal for anyone who wishes to protect plants that they do not intend to dig up during the winter. You can move your cloche to suit your plants as opposed to moving your plants to suit the storage method.

Cold Frames

What are they?

Another great method for storing your plants are cold frames. A cold frame is a small enclosure with a transparent roof. The purpose of cold frames is to protect plants from harsh weather conditions by acting as a barrier to the elements. They act as mini greenhouses; absorbing heat from the sun through the transparent roof, thus keeping the soil warm. They are also a lot more affordable in comparison to greenhouses. If you choose to use a cold frame, it is best to have the roof facing the sun to ensure it captures maximum light during the day.

When to choose a cold frame?

Cold frames are perfect for anyone who does not have a huge amount of plants to store during winter as the structure of a cold frame can be limited in terms of space. They would also suit beginner gardeners as they are affordable and can even be made at home using wooden panels and a sheet of glass or durable plastic.

Polytunnel

What are they?

As the name suggests, a polytunnel is a tunnel that is generally constructed with steel and covered with polyethylene. They are typically semi-circular in shape and can be various lengths. Polytunnels are relatively simple to construct, they are usually built directly on a soil base which means there is very little site preparation involved. They are also quite easy to dismantle and reassemble. Solar radiation is absorbed through the polyethylene which creates a warm environment inside the tunnel, thus allowing plants to thrive during winter.

When to choose a polytunnel?

Polytunnels are a great solution for avid gardeners who have a lot of plants to store during winter. They are also fantastic for anyone who is looking for a cheaper alternative to a greenhouse. Polytunnels are typically one third of the cost of a greenhouse.

Greenhouse

What are they?

A greenhouse is a structure or building with walls and a roof made from a transparent material such as plastic or glass. The purpose of a greenhouse is to provide a regulated environment for plants to grow in. Similar to all of the other storage methods mentioned above, it traps heat from the sunlight, ensuring that your plants have optimum growing temperatures no matter what time of the year it is. Greenhouses are the most durable form of plant storage, but they can be difficult to construct, and they generally require a solid base to stand on, meaning there may be some site preparation needed.

When to choose a greenhouse?

Greenhouses are best suited to avid gardeners who have a lot of plants to store. They are the most expensive plant storage method; you need to be quite committed to gardening before you consider making the investment in a greenhouse.

greenhouse gardening
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