Free home made cloches

Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender January 1, 2013 Posted Tags: , , Comment No Comments

Today  – 1st January 2013… That means its under two months till I aim to plant out my first broad beans and peas… I have some (slow to germinate) peas which are planted in guttering and some broadies waiting in the greenhouse to go out and I’ll do another batch in a few weeks along with more broadies. So it’s all go over the next few weeks or so.

Along with my leeks and onions and a few trial early tomatoes that are busy germinating in my conservatory the season has officially started for me..  The plants are going to require a bit of protection if we get a really harsh end to the winter.

Cloches are a great way of protecting your new planted out veg or flowers during bad weather. Once early Spring has sprung and the ground starts to warm up you can plant out a variety of plants that are not really frost and cold resistant.. Broad Beans and Peas are the norm to be planted out in early March. Potatoes planted in March may also need a covering if they are showing growth and there is a late frost around.

Last season I planted out some peas and broadies on 10 March and could have got them in a bit earlier had the plot spot been ready for them. After planting I made a makeshift cloche out of some plastic covering some wire netting on a sort of framework which worked… Then I found some plastic roof sheeting on a skip and some were immediately used as an upgraded cloche. See samples below.

   

If you get the roof sheet and place it between some bamboo sticks pushed into the ground and bend the roof sheet to make a roof cover. Another way is to go around the local window and roofing companies and ask for scrap Poly-Carb roof sheets from conservatories. These also make great cloches. All you need to do is put two together and drill some holes in and then tie them loosely together with some wires or cable ties.. Then just place them over the plants and stake them with bamboos. The ends can be blocked off with off-cuts.

In May when the marrows and courgettes go in and there is still a chance of frost you will need to cloche them..  I also used the roof sheeting very successfully to protect from some surprisingly hot weather because I had forgotten to put the plants in the cold frame for a few days to acclimatize and harden them off!! I woke up one morning and realized the weather was ideal for planting them out but they were not ready to go out into the big bad world – so I planted and then made the cloches. I also covered up the newly planted cabbages and peas.. See the pics below

   

You also need to Cover your spuds if late frosts are forecast and it is so easy to do using these sheets instead of looking for fleece and making supports to tie it all to.

Remember that cloches they can generate a lot of heat when the sun comes out and can be more stressful than being a bit cold… so don’t block the ends too well so you can let some airflow through them.

So there are a few months left to get out there scouring the builders yards and skips for roof and poly carb sheeting.. it’s not too long before they need to be used.

Happy “skipping”

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