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Allotment Diary

Frost damage

Brrrr – it’s sure been cold!

We’ve had a bit of a cold spell so I thought I’d check out the damage incurred

It’s so lovely to look at the plot when it’s covered in snow, however, in my experience, it’s the frost and the ice which can prove to be much more damaging.

Over the last few years, I’ve noticed shoots in January, only for them to be decimated by a thick frost a few weeks later. That trend, along with the the colder temperatures in general, is one of the reasons why I tend to not do much growing, outside of hardy plants and fruits that can withstand the frost like conditions.

Blackcurrants and
alpine strawberries

I recently transplanted black currants and red currants from the back of the plot to a bed nearby.

With that I also planted some alphine strawberries, to act as ground cover. Alpine strawberries tend to grow pretty rampantly, so I’m hoping they’ll keep the weeds down.

The currents themselves, at this time of year, don’t tend to show much life, and they’re kind of twiggy anyway. The alpine strawberries however, have taken a bit of a pounding. The leaves were a little bit frost bitten and burned.

I’m hoping that they can recover, it’s only because I’ve transplanted them from elsewhere which makes me slightly uneasy about their survival.

Plum tree

The plum tree is always a delight to look at, and it’s pretty hardy too.

Because this is currently dormant, like the blackcurrants, this does look very twiggy – but if you look more closely, you’ll see very tiny shoots that are holding off from sprouting.

In the spring, I’ll give this the annual prune, and now it’s a mature tree, I’ll need to think hard about which direction I want the tree to grow in, and how high I want the tree to grow.

I’ll need to do some research on how to do this, much more properly.

Garlic

A couple of weeks ago, the boredom of lockdown and the need to garden led me to plant brown and red onions, along with casablanca garlic bulbs.

I know I was way too early and probably a bit too keen, but just thought… why not. With that in mind, I planted everything just that little bit deeper to withstand the cold that little bit longer.

That said, it didn’t seem to deter the garlic, which has poked through unhindered.

Rhubarb

Now, in the past – the rhubarb has seen a lot of damage due to frost. What I’ve noticed happen previously is, new shoots will sprout, only to be struck down, and those damages shoots rot into the crown, damaging the plant as a whole.

This results in stunted growth of the plant, and ultimately not as much rhubarb.

These shoots have indeed only just sprouted – but I’m hoping that they’re small and innocuous enough to not get damaged.

I’ll keep you posted on how well they grow as the year trundles on.

Strawberries

Overall I think they faired fairly well – the older, outside leaves were frost bitten and scorched, but the strawberry plants themselves looked pretty good and strong.

In my experience, strawberry plants are quite resilient and I’m hoping the cold temperatures we’ve won’t cause too much damage. I’m not too sure what varieties these are, but they are terrific croppers and crop both in the early summer and in the autumn.

I’ll be cultivating these and filling in any gaps of where these plants reside.

Generally speaking, I think I’m fairing quite well during these cold spells – how’s everything on your plot thus far? I’d love to know in the comments below.

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