Allotment – first frost

We had our first frost last night, and it had to happen after a full day of rain, didn’t it?

So I zoomed up to the plot today, to see what, if any, damage had been done. All our broad bean seedlings seem to have survived, but just to be on the safe side, I’ve covered as many as possible with bottle cloches. These are the same clear plastic bottles that we use in summer, narrow end down, as watering funnels to the roots of thirsty plants (so we don’t have to water the soil, meaning the weeds get no benefit) and are then inverted to cover tender plants, wide end down.

Rather wonderfully, several of the beans were too big to fit inside even a BIG bottle, so I just have to hope they will cope on their own. And un-wonderfully, I discovered that our brilliant broad bean supports have one major problem – we’ve put side supports in to strengthen the whole six row system and that means you can’t actually walk between the rows … so those side supports are going to have to come down when we harvest, if not before!

I’m glad that at the weekend I found time to cut down and mulch my globe artichokes, I know that not everybody does this and somebody asked for pictures last year, so here’s one.

Why do I do it? Well, partly because somebody who was a great gardener taught me to, years ago, and I’ve always carried on, and partly because there are two reasons that I think it could be useful – the first is that rain does fill up the gaps between the stems on globe artichoke leaves and that can cause them to rot in the winter, and the second is that their fleshy leaves do easily get damaged by frost, so cutting the outer leaves off and using them to cover the inner leaves and base of the plant, to keep out both rain and frost, seems sensible.

Now I’m worrying is that nobody else does this at all – although perhaps I shouldn’t worry as I do know that my artichokes are the envy of my neighbours.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Blogger Jo said...

We've been having frost this week too. The parsnips should be getting sweeter.

December 2, 2009 at 4:15 AM  
OpenID said...

We had a minor frost on the 1st December but nothing to worry about yet. Seems sensible with what you do with the artichokes but I have never grown them and know nothing about them so if I ever do decide to give them a go at least I know there are options!

December 2, 2009 at 1:17 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Well we only had the one frost, so we're back to driving rain now ... I'd much rather have the frost!

December 4, 2009 at 8:29 AM  

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