Rows of young plants under a polythene cloche

Protect young veg plants in spring

Protect young vegetable plants from late frosts and cold winds in spring to get them off to a good start.

Once you’ve hardened off your tender young veg plants or summer bedding in late spring it’s time to plant them out when all risk of frost has passed. It’s easy to get caught out by late frosts, though, and chilly winds will check the growth of plants. So to get them off to a good start, have some protection handy – you can quickly pop it over your plants if poor weather is forecast.

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Here are three ways to protect young plants.

Cloches

There are an ideal to protect vulnerable young plants planted in a row. Flexible polythene and wire hoop cloches are the quickest and easiest to use. You can use fleece-covered or bell-shaped cloches in the same way.

A polythene tunnel cloche over rows of seedlings
A polythene tunnel cloche over rows of seedlings

Recycled plastic bottles

Cover individual plants with homemade ‘mini cloches’ made from plastic drinks bottles. They protect delicate leaves from cold temperatures overnight but remove them first thing in the morning to prevent the air inside from overheating, which would damage the plant.

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An individual cloche made from a plastic bottle to protect a solo small plant
An individual cloche made from a plastic bottle to protect a solo small plant

Cover with fleece

Blocks of bedding plants and veg are best protected with horticultural fleece or recycled, fine grade net curtain. The material should be supported above plants on wire or cane hoops. The cover maintains good air flow around plants and can be left in place for a few days.

A tunnel of horticultural fleece supported by wire hoops, its edges weighted down with bricks
A tunnel of horticultural fleece supported by wire hoops, its edges weighted down with bricks