Buying a cloche for you garden
Cloches protect plants from
frost and cold.
Cloches come in many shapes, sizes and designs, bought in or homemade and they are used for protecting plants from the cold and frosts. A garden cloche differs from greenhouses and cold frames in that cloches are placed over plants in their existing position, unlike cold frames and greenhouses which require the plants to be potted up and placed inside.
When buying or constructing your cloche you should think about the size of the area you want to protect and the size of the plants inside.
Cloches are often used on vegetable patches where appearance is not always key but if you're using them to protect individual ornamentals the design of a cloche may be a factor for you.
Cloches can be divided into two categories, those for individual plants and those that will protect multiple plants from the frost. If you're protecting rows of vegetables cloches for multiple plants are much more practical and cost effective. If you want a cloche that adds a bit of style to your garden, individual cloches come in much nicer designs.
Victorian cloches are
attractive and practical.
Victorian cloches are an attractive addition to a garden and give a traditional feel. They're square rather than long like the tunnel cloches, and are better suited to protecting individual plants.
Bell cloches allow plenty of light
Bell cloches (sometimes dome cloches) are attractive individual cloches for the garden and the curved walls also prevent condensation from dripping on the plants.
Tunnel cloches are great for vegetables.
Rigid plastic tunnel cloches are more expensive than the fleece and polythene versions but come with the benefit that they are much easier to move around and provide hassle free access to the protected plants for weeding and watering.
If you choose a tunnel cloche, check the ends of the tunnel. The ends should be able to allow air to circulate through the cloche but also seal them to avoid strong winds blowing straight through. Some will have removable end pieces while others will have air vents to allow this.
Alternatives to cloches
If you want to protect plants in the ground, a cheap alternative to cloches is to cut the tops of plastic bottles and and place the bottle upside down over your plants. On many allotments you will find cloches made with blue water pipes. These work really well just cut the pipes to size and fit over garden canes that are pushed onto the ground. Quick easy and can be moved easily around your allotment. Cover with either netting, polythene or fleece
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