With the autumn well underway and the winter fast approaching, now is the time to think about keeping your plants cosy for the winter and protecting them against the cold weather. Tender plants can easily succumb to frost with water logged roots rotting and the tips of leaves becoming frost bitten.
When deciding how much care you need to take over the winter, think about the conditions in your garden and where the plants are positioned. Many inner cities stay relatively warm over the winter, while a garden that has very little protection from chilly east winds on one side of the house may find another side is much more sheltered, perhaps with a high wall which both protects from the wind and catches whatever winter warmth is around and releasing it back when the sun goes in.
If your containers are small enough to move without doing yourself an injury, then the best option is to transfer the non hardy plants into a conservatory or heated greenhouse.
But if they cannot be moved or you have nowhere to move them make sure they are well tucked up for winter. Cover them in horticultural fleece or specially designed ‘plant cosies’ or ‘basket jackets’ making sure not just the leaves but also the pot itself is well wrapped to keep the roots protected. It’s also a good idea to raise pots off the ground on three good sized feet (which can be any thing from specially designed pot feet to large pebbles or stones) to make sure that the pot does not become water logged and more likely to become frozen.
On the vegetable patch again you can use fleece, or for more protection use cloches. In addition to protecting against bad weather, they will also keep predators off your sweet tasting seedlings and will also have the additional benefit of helping to warm up the soil so that you will be able to harvest earlier.