Green House Gardening – Frames and Garden Cloches

Green House Gardening – Garden Frames

Garden frames can be used like miniature greenhouses. Seeds can be propagated in both heated and unheated frames, and cold frames can be used to propagate cuttings of calceolarias, penstemons and violas and for over-wintering not so hardy bedding plants.

garden frames

They are also excellent for hardening off plants from the greenhouse intended for the garden. Ventilation should be increased gradually until the plants are hardy enough to go into position in the garden.

Garden Cloches and Cloche Culture

The advantage of garden cloches is that they enable you to carry on intensive cultivation in a restricted area. In these days of small gardens and garden areas, garden cloches have really come into their own. There are many types of cloche but the barn type, with almost vertical walls and an inverted V-shaped roof is the best-known. Rain falling at the sides of the cloche is absorbed by the ground underneath the cloche.

Glass garden cloches are generally held together by galvanised wire frames, and the most useful sort are about 2 feet long. By placing them end to end and securing a flat piece of glass across each end they effectively form a miniature greenhouse. Plastic garden cloches are cheaper, generally as effective but have different light and heat conducting properties.

garden cloche In general, glass cloches are to be preferred. There are many ways of using cloches, but perhaps the most useful where winters are long and the ground takes a long time to warm up, is in bringing forward sowing times. The ground is prepared and about 4 oz. of balanced NPK fertiliser worked into the topsoil a week before sowing or planting, when the cloches are stood in place. In this way seeds can be sown directly into the soil about a month earlier than the times given in the table for sowing in the open air.

Beetroot, Brussels sprouts, carrots, frame and ridge cucumbers, marrows, peas and runner beans all benefit from cloche culture. Other plants which benefit include dwarf beans, cauliflowers, endives, mint, parsley, shallots, spring onions and turnips. Lettuces and radishes may be sown out of season, in late September, for over-wintering under cloches.

In the south, radishes may be sown even later, and in the north sowing commences again in February. Tomatoes benefit from early cloche protection, two barn cloches being stood on their ends round the young plants. Sweet corn becomes almost hardy with the help of early cloche protection.

By skilful timing, the gardener can get maximum use from his garden cloches by transferring them from one plant to another. For instance, cloches used to protect early peas (from birds as well as weather!) can be removed from the peas in May and used for protecting tomatoes. Maximum use of the ground is made by intercropping other quick-maturing plants between the cloches.

03. September 2010 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Greenhouse Gardening | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Green House Gardening – Frames and Garden Cloches


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