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Making mini polytunnels to protect your winter veggies

So maybe you are just tired of your plants getting trashed by frost and ice during the winter months? Or maybe you are trying to steal an extra few weeks of growing from mother nature. Either way, we’ve been doing a wee experiment in the garden that might be what you’re looking for.

To be really simple, basically, we covered our veg beds in plastic sheeting. Obviously, that’s the super, simple way to explain it but really it’s so easy and simple that I didn’t want to overcomplicate things.

So, why did I consider putting plastic sheeting over my raised beds? I’ve seen a few folks online claiming it can add a few degrees to the temperature underneath, help to reduce frost and ice and, which for us is a biggie, help protect from wind chill. They even claim it can pretty much change your growing zone (if you are in the US, we don’t really use growing zones here). Given it’s crazy simple to actually install (seriously, drape it over your raised bed using hoops like mine to hold it up and then just secure it with bricks or clips etc), I figured it had to be worth a wee test run.

  1. Measure the length and width of your raised bed to determine how much plastic sheeting you’ll need.
  2. Cut the sheeting to size, making sure to leave a few inches of excess on all sides.
  3. Drape the sheeting over your raised bed, making sure to smooth out any wrinkles or creases.
  4. Secure the sheeting in place with stakes, bungee cords, clips, etc, placing them every few feet around the perimeter of the bed.

So I installed this on one of my raised beds, in a very timely manner, literally the afternoon before our big freeze hit.

It works by trapping heat inside your raised beds helping to keep the soil and the air warmer for a little longer, which can be a lifesaver for your plants. It’s like a mini greenhouse!

I’ve gone for simple, rough, and ready but if you’re worried about making your garden look untidy, then you can make a much neater job than I did. I had the option that I could have neatly fixed it to the frame of the bed covers. But I was going to a fast install as I knew the freeze was coming.

So how has it held up against the freeze we’ve just had? Well, let me put it this way, after our week of -8C, I was out harvesting veggies for dinner tonight.

  • Catch up with our latest video showing you how the garden has faired since the big freeze and showing you which plants survived and which didn’t, as well as some early results of the new mini polytunnel bed: https://youtube.com/watch?v=GyZdI5NN7pw

Will it stand up to the winter to come? I don’t know yet but you can be sure I’ll be keeping you guys up to date.

Links to the things I used
Polythene sheeting: https://amzn.to/3jl0UcD

Clips to secure the sheeting to my hoops: https://amzn.to/3YDOJrx

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