With the winter season and especially the clear and windless nights, it is easy for frost in our latitudes and the temperature to drop precipitously, especially a little before dawn, making it difficult even for floors more rustic and cold-resistant. from our garden Is balcony.
In fact, more than the constant cold they fear sudden frosts , capable of creating ice crystals in plant cells, which interrupt the vital flow of fluids in plant tissues, the damaged leaves of which appear water-soaked and withered, turning dark brown or black. In this article, we will give some guidelines for take care of the garden in winter.
Different needs for different plants.
The effects of frost vary from one species to another, but also according to age (young plants are most at risk), initial state of health and stage of development (flowers, for example, are very vulnerable). .
That said, there are many ways to protect yourself from the cold and frost in winter , as well as the needs of the different varieties: plants in Mediterranean and subtropical climates (such as citrus bougainvilleas, gardenias and fuchsias) need a real winter refuge in warm greenhouses and closed, bright but unheated environments. temperatures of our apartments; succulents and varieties from tropical countries can overwinter in the warmth of our homes, maintaining an acceptable humidity level for them; finally, the hardy plants, with additional cover and protection, can perfectly resist both outdoors and in the hot season.
Valid criteria for all consist of not exposing them to winds and drafts, not watering too much, avoiding stagnation of humidity in the roots or among the foliage under artificial covers, and finally facilitating exchanges of air. In greenhouses, tunnels and shelters. If possible, in the presence of obvious frost damage, immediately give up pruning the plant from side to side of the interested parties or, worse, tearing it up mercilessly: once spring arrives, you will probably see new leaves of this plant that I thought was dead.
The main measures to preserve your plants until spring
- Bring to close potted plants for some species, it is the first and simplest solution for a cold. Unheated rooms such as terraces and garages are suitable: the important thing is that there is enough light and that the transition from outside to inside is gradual. If the plants will live in an apartment, place them away from heat sources and near windows oriented according to their sun needs; east and west for maximum light, while north and south for lower needs. Avoid placing potted plants near openings in the stream. Check that they still have the right humidity level, with mists on the leaves and soil in the pots kept moist (but not soggy): these are of course only general advice, as each plant may require different conditions. very different environments.
- Prepare a sheltered and sunny place: If you can’t shelter your plants indoors, under a patio or awning, at least try to place them along windbreaks, hedges or near walls or walls that can provide minimal shelter from pests. freezing winter winds. Grouping several pots next to each other can help and help retain heat near the plants.
- Build a mini pitch for outdoor potted plants or a tunnel for those who are on the ground, it takes a little more time and experience: on the Internet there are many DIY tutorials with wood, PVC or other recycled materials and without spending a fortune, we really like those on https://paraelhogar . org/. Whether it is a greenhouse or a greenhouse near a wall, or a tunnel, always ensure good air circulation inside and avoid overheating on sunny days. winter by regularly opening the openings.
- It may also be necessary improvise a small heating system in these cold greenhouses: As “flying” heat sources in this case, many sites offer to use Christmas lights or a 100 watt bulb, obviously those designed for outdoor lighting. Always make sure they are not in close contact with roofing materials or plant parts.
- Cover the pot and the aerial part plants (even in the ground) to protect them from overnight frost is much easier: the pot can be wrapped in a burlap sack, bubble wrap or sheets of newspaper with straw padding to preserve the roots , while the plant must be covered with a breathable material such as nonwoven, or a plastic sheet, taking care in the latter case to leave it only strictly necessary, during the coldest hours, then to remove it so that the air can circulate in the morning. Everything must always stop at strong ties. The lid must be tucked under the pot and not around the trunk of the plant, so that it can take advantage of the heat given off by the earth; In addition, it must be supported by a small frame, so that it does not come into direct contact with leaves and branches.
- Finally, apply a layer of mulch to protect the roots and the collar of the plant from temperature changes and preserve the heat of the earth: cover the soil with a few insulating centimeters of straw, leaf earth or peat, until the temperate season.