Garden Cloches at Gardening Naturally
What are Garden Cloches
Garden cloches come in all shapes and sizes they are usually small structures associated with the protection of plants against the cold and insects.
Cloches are like a greenhouse or polytunnel but usually much smaller and usually portable.
Why Use Garden Cloches
Cloches can be set up in the garden or allotment to protect anything from individual plants to rows of plants. Ideal for use with strawberries, vegetables and even flowers.
Garden Cloches on Seedbeds and Seedlings
At the start of the year seedbeds and seedlings can be covered. For this type of protection fleece or polythene is usually used. The cloches can also warm the soil and create a “microclimate” helping seeds to germinate and plants to establish and grow.
Garden Cloches and Soil Temperatures
Warming the soil in spring using garden cloches can help crops germinate earlier which means you can usually start growing several weeks earlier.
Set up the cloche at least a week before planting seeds or crops to allow the temperature under the cloche to rise sufficiently.
Garden Cloches and Air Temperature
Cloches also reduce the amount of heat loss at night resulting in earlier harvest dates, sometimes several weeks.
Garden Cloches and Weather Protection
The cloche will also protect from wind which will help increases the growth of plants especially leafy crops such as cabbages and salad crops. Be careful when removing cloches as the plants can suffer with shock if suddenly exposed to strong wind or sunshine. Lift the sides of cloches if fleece or polythene is used to increase ventilation for a week or so before exposing fully for other cloches where the sides cannot be lifted, remove for a few hours each morning a week before full exposure.
Garden Cloches Heavy Rain and Hail
Using cloches can stop hail and heavy rain from damaging young plants they will also deflect heavy rain that can damage soil structure, seedbeds, young plants and stop plants being contaminated with splashed soil.
Garden Cloches and Pollination
When you have crops, which need pollinating remove the cloche on warm sunny days to allow pollinating insects in.
Garden Cloches and Insect Protection
As the plants grow and the season changes netting cloches can be used to protect plants from insect damage. Towards the end of the growing season it can help to promote ripening.