The Veg Plot

Winter gardening: top tips for keeping warm

Flask of Soup

When the cruel winter winds start to whip around our high altitude allotment, we prefer to avoid outdoor activity whenever possible. But there are times when jobs need to be carried out and the cold temperatures must be braved. So here are our top tips for fighting off Jack Frost and his shiver inducing pals.

Wrap up warm

It’s pretty obvious, but the best way to keep warm is by kitting yourself out in winter-proof clothes. We opt for wearing as many layers as possible without turning into inflexible Michelin men and make sure our outermost layers are wind and rain proof. Breathable fabrics are recommended to stop yourself cooking from within. We always go for hats that stretch below the ears and pack a couple of pairs of gloves – one for the mucky, wet work and another dry pair for the rest.

The ultimate cold weather clothing: If you want to ratchet up the heat to the maximum you could try investing in this hot fashion item – a battery powered, heated jacket from heavy duty outdoor specialists Milwauke. 

Pack some hot food

In depths of winter a flask can be the most precious item you own. The scent of a warming liquid kissing the nostrils as the lid is unscrewed is guaranteed to bring a smile to frost bitten lips. And that’s just the whisky flask. Hot drinks are great but if you’re out for a while then you’ll burn even more energy fighting the cold so your body will be grateful for some food nutrition as well. For extra warmth and sustenance we can recommend packing a freshly hard boiled egg or baked potato wrapped in foil – keep them tucked up in your pocket and, for a while, they’ll double up as hand warmers.

The ultimate cold weather food: For heat and nutrition the best thing you can fill a flask with is soup. Rich swears by a hot mug of butternut squash soup while Nick veers towards the extra spicy warmth of a mulligatawny.

Start a fire

Winter is a great time of year to light a bonfire. There tends to be a lot of burnable garden waste scattered around and, providing it’s dry, sending it up in flames is one job that’s guaranteed to warm you up. You can even use it to cook your dinner on – wrap a few spuds in foil, place them by the edge of the fire where the heat isn’t too intense, and they’ll cook while you attend to the garden.

The ultimate garden fire: For a proper outdoor controlled source of fire then a chiminea is a great addition to any garden – a provider of constant warmth which doubles up as a more predictable form of outdoor oven.

Heat the shed

A lot of winter essential tasks can be carried out in the shed – but a leaky, poorly insulated shed can be just as cold and damp as working beneath a grey sky. So add to your ‘must do’ gardening list the task of covering up any gaps in the shed to keep the winter out. If you’re lucky enough to have electricity supplied to your shed then investing in a shed-friendly heater is a wise move (anything involving naked flames are a bad idea).

The ultimate shed warmer: If your garden shed is like a second home to you then you might even want to consider using it as an environmentally friendly energy generator and deck the roof out in solar panels.


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