Cloches are a Girl’s Best Friend

clochesMy love for cloches is rekindled every winter. They give me salads through the cold months, and for this I am eternally grateful.

A cloche is a series of hoops that can be draped with bird netting to protect seeds or seedlings; or covered in plastic to extend the growing season. An essential part of the food gardeners kit, you’ll agree. At the moment I have 7 on the go!

They’re easily made at home – ideas abound. Bendy branches like supple jack can be sharpened and pushed into the soil. PVC pipes can be slid over re-bar or screwed to a wooden frame. If you buy them, choose a sturdy frame – cheap and flimsy wont go the distance. My favourite cloche shop is Redpath.

Having a few different sizes gives you flexibility to cover a variety of heights. Taller hoops are useful when summer starts slowly. It means tomatoes and peppers can stay under plastic for longer. Also useful when covered with birdnet to protect taller leafy greens like perpetual beet or chard from Peter Rabbit, as is the case in my garden. Smaller hoops with birdnet are used to cover direct sown seed like greencrops and root crops until they are big enough, or with plastic to grow saladings when it’s cold out.

Because plastic keeps out rain, you need to remember to keep the soil moisture up. Ideally watering in the morning so the soil warms back up by night time. Fresh air is also good, lift the cover on a warm day.

Comments

  1. I’m about to go cover my spinach and kale seedlings I planted about a month ago. I’m hoping it will speed up their growth 🙂

  2. Sharon Batty says:

    Thank you Kath, I have had some pruning jobs! Sharon