Sunday, November 7

Investing in protection!

With cold weather threatened we decided to concentrate on protection last week so first stop was a local farm where we bought several bales of straw.

The first to receive protection were the dahlias - we have left these in the ground for several years now and in spite of being on heavy clay soil they have survived under a protective layer of straw and polythene. This year we dug up and reburied the tubers. This meant that we could use less space for storage. Our method of protecting dahlia tubers is told in more detail here.
We also leave our carrots in the ground over winter and harvest them as we need them. This has worked for us for several years - even last year when it was really frosty and cold for extended periods the carrots survived well. Straw is piled on the carrots and the enviromesh is replaced. More information on how we store carrots and the results we have achieved is available here
As we have quite a lot of beetroot we are also trying to see if we can protect the roots over winter with straw in a similar way.
Although parsnips are hardy and don't really need any protection from frost, it can be fairly difficult to harvest the roots from frozen solid ground so we have also placed some straw as a mulch around them and hope this may help keep the ground diggable!.

My full diary entry for last week is posted on my website here and last week's photo album is here

There's also a snippet of the video that we took at Old Moor RSPB reserve here on my November diary page - there were lots of water birds to see but my favourites are always the garden birds!

By the way if you haven't already don't forget to enter the competition click here for more information and to enter.


  1. Straw's a great insulator, I'm sure it'll keep the worst of the weather off.

  2. All snug and cozy. Here in Australia we use straw in summer to prevent loss of water from the ground when it is so blazing hot here.

  3. OK What's the going rate for a bale of straw nowadays?

  4. You really have been busy. Those beds look well and truly tucked in, Im sure it'll keep things going through to spring.

  5. I love using straw in summer, and this is the first time I'm trying to use it in winter.
    I hope to have as good results as you have.

  6. Looks like you've got the protection on just in time with the change in the weather today.

  7. It has certainly worked in the past Damo

    MKG - a very versatile material

    We paid £2.20 a bale Mal and bought three to do all this and had some left. Once we remove it we use it on the srawberries and then compost it. The only problem is that it can have weed seeds in it but then again we get plenty of weeds anyway so whats a few more?

    FRG - we need to be tucked up too today is miserable outside

    I'm sure you will Vrtlarica

    It's certainly horrible Jo

  8. Wow...those parsnips are fantastic...I had one beauty this year but that was eaten long ago. I have lifted all my beetroot and it's in the shed waiting to be turned into a lovely soup!!

    I still have carrots in the ground but they won't last much longer now...i am hoping to plant more next year but will probably lift and freeze them. I understand that leaving them in the ground would be good but the straw look so messy and I think i would be worried about that...especially as 8 people on our allotments have been told that they won't be having their leases renewed next I hate mess!!

  9. The straw over the carrots isn't on show Tanya as it is under the enviromesh - It's only really like putting straw around your strawberries.

  10. Oh so impressed by your hard work - for shame, we haven't been to the lottie in weeks *blush*. But we have just got a new house and the weather has been horrendous, no that I'm trying to think of excuses......

  11. We have just managed to squeeze a bit of work in between downpours. I'm sure your new house is keeping you very busy too.

  12. Wow! it sure is a lot of work. I hope all your plants survive nicely during the winter.
    For me the most I will have to do will probably be just moving some of the planters closer to the window

  13. It's not really hard work though ~fer and worth it!


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