From the beginning of autumn, and until mid-May in some of our regions, the gardener has a hard time protecting his plants in the vegetable patch against the cold. And in this area, it is crucial to know how to anticipate because sometimes frosts and even snow can come by surprise. So you have to be ready and for that, you have a whole arsenal of protections to save your crops and continue to harvest but also to plant and sow. Let’s do a check in.
The winter veil for chilly vegetable plants
The wintering veil is one of the best solutions for the vegetables to spend the winter in the shelter as well as the spring since it allows you to gain a few degrees, around 3 or 4, which is not so bad . For a good thermal protection, all you have to do is choose a sufficiently thick wintering veil. It allows light to pass through, of course, and also protects crops against heavy rain, hail, snow, frost and strong winds.
Its use is very simple. The rows of vegetable plants are covered with it and care is taken to prevent the wind from blowing in. A few stones placed on the edges of the veil will do the trick. In sunny weather, the winter veil must be lifted in order to ventilate the plantations, during the hottest hours, then put back in place at the end of the afternoon.
The accordion tunnel for the vegetable garden
The role of the tunnel is the same as that of the shade sail: to help the sensitive plants of the vegetable garden to pass the winter without incident and to withstand the spring frosts. The tunnel is nothing but a thin and translucent tarpaulin, in polyethylene, posed in accordion on arches of about forty centimeters in height, and maintained thanks to drawstrings. This protection folds and unfolds easily, as needed. This greenhouse tunnel is very useful in the spring for the forcing seedlings.
The gardener should therefore always have this device on hand because it arises in a jiffy. It is therefore convenient for coping with late frosts capable of raging in May and which we no longer really expected but which can ruin all efforts.
The different mulches suitable for the vegetable garden
Excellent coverage in natural material, mulching protects the soil against frost but also against the beating of heavy rains which harden it and make its work difficult in the spring. Laying a mulch thus makes it possible to facilitate sowing after winter because the soil remains more loose. At the same time, this ground cover also protects plants in the vegetable garden that cannot tolerate frost, such as potatoes, carrots, beets or even salads, fruit vegetables and many others. The cold is certainly rife in winter, but it can be feared in spring, especially north of the Loire and in high altitude areas.
There are different solutions to protect the vegetable garden from the elements with a mulch, to preserve the balance of the soil and, in addition, to fertilize the soil. The gardener has a fairly wide choice, namely:
- Dead leaves,
- Branches that have been carefully crushed beforehand,
- Compost from vegetable peelings,
- Chinese reed (Miscanthus),
As for the mulch made up of cocoa shells for example, it is not the ideal solution for mulching the vegetable garden. It certainly protects the soil and the vegetables, but it must be removed when the weather is fine. Both a seasonal fertilizer and a decorative element, it is rather a mulch to be reserved for flower beds and shrubs. It is also widely used by landscapers.
Mound the rows to protect the stumps
This method should only be adopted for certain vegetables from the vegetable garden, such as artichokes, for example. the buttage simply consists of bringing garden soil to the base of the plants and around the stem in order to form a frost screen. You can even completely cover the aerial parts, but on condition that the earth does not infiltrate the heart of the plant, and it is absolutely necessary to eliminate the earth that covers the plants as soon as it is wet. This can quickly become tedious and requires daily monitoring.
These weather protection solutions should be adopted by all gardeners in order to don’t lose your crops but also to be able to continue planting in winter or sowing, especially in the mildest climates, beans, salsify, carrots, but where a few frosts can still do damage… The main thing is to choose a sunny day and outside frost period, and to install adequate protection in stride. And beware of watering: useless if it rains regularly in winter, they are however essential in the event of a dry season.
It can be noted that sow green manure such as mustard, clover, lupine in bare areas of the vegetable garden is another good solution in anticipation of sowing. It will suffice to mow it when the time comes, that is to say in the spring, then bury it in the ground before cultivation. All these plant debris will then decompose and they will be transformed into fertilizer by microorganisms.