Cloche Gardening

Like the sectional wire frame, cloches are portable. Since it is usually convenient to move them no more than about 2 ft. at a time, they are best laid out, as close together as possible, in a long straight row and moved according to a strip system. The cloches can then be in use for the whole of the year. The five-strip system is particularly successful, and is arranged as follows: 1. lettuces; 2. peas; 3. sweet corn; 4. cucumbers; 5. ripening tomatoes; 6. lettuces again, and so on. In April, move the cloches from strip 1 to strip 2 so that the lettuces, planted in October, remain in the open. A month later, move the cloches on to strip 3 to cover the sweet corn, leaving the peas in the open. By the end of June the sweet corn will no longer need protection, and the cucumbers can therefore be covered from July to August. By then the tomatoes that have been growing in the open since June will need help in ripening off. After cutting them from their stakes, cover them with the cloches from the cucumbers. When the tomatoes have been picked, in mid-October, the cloches are again free for newly sown lettuces.

Rows of cloches can also be used for raising flowering annuals, which are usually sown in February, March and September. September sowing is particularly satisfactory, for the cloches can be removed early in April and used for other crops, such as half-hardy annuals, which are sown at that time, on the spot where the plants are to flower. Perennials that come true from seed are usually sown under cloches in mid-March. If bulbs are to be bought into flower early, plant them out-of-doors at the normal time, and place cloches over them in November. Violets can be covered with cloches from October until the middle of March. A fortnight before planting gladiolus corms, usually about the beginning of March, put the cloches into position to warm the soil. Keep them on after planting and remove them when the gladiolus spikes touch the glass.

16. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles, Garden Management, Gardening Calendar | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Cloche Gardening

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