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Benefits and uses of garden cloches - By PoshCloche Garden Cloches

We highlight some the ways gardeners can protect plants and grow vegetables using garden cloches throughout the year.

Weather protection and cloches
Your garden cloche will create a protected micro environment for your seedlings and plants in your garden or raised bed providing them with shelter from the worse of the weather. Frost is the obvious danger for those early plantings but heavy rain and high winds can also create havoc. Later in the season cloches can be used to protect the established crop from unexpected early frosts so it has the chance to grow fully before harvesting. Winter hardy crops such as spinach carried overwinter under cloches are less mud splashed and more tender as a result of their cosseted life. Some gardeners struggle to get even the winter hardy crops to survive their local climates and growing under cloches makes this possible.

Soil Warming under your cloche
Pre-warming the soil with a garden cloche before sowing encourages earlier germination and increases the length of the cropping season. Seeds germinate at various temperatures but as a guide germination of hardy crops such as carrots start when the average soil temperature is above 8°C (46°F) and for tender crops such as French Beans 12°C (54°F).

AcryliCloche® Garden Cloches will raise the temperature of the soil thus increasing the average daily temperature. In addition dry soil warms quicker than wet soil and your cloche will keep rain and snow off your planting site. An added bonus is the faster germination of weeds under the cloche. Known as a 'sterile seed bed' the weed seeds germinate as the soil warms, these can be removed before the vegetable crop is sown and will mean there are a few less weeds to worry about later in the year. PoshCloche have carried out temperature trials which show how quickly soil warms under AcryliCloche® Garden Cloche and have published their trial results.

Pest protection
Your AcryliCloche® garden cloche provides the first line of defense against threats to precious seedlings and early sowings with the main early season culprits being weather, slugs, rodents, pigeons and rabbits.

Pigeons and rodents are the main problem when planting seeds from the Fabaceae family of plants such as peas and broad beans. Before they get a chance to germinate most seeds are dug up and eaten and need to be protected under cloches to prevent this. Onion sets are a particular attraction to pigeons which seem to make a national sport of pulling them up. A garden cloche provides a physical barrier which will give them time to germinate and establish before the next wave of attack from slugs and rabbits which thrive on emerging seedlings.

Hardening off
Hardening off involves carefully acclimatising plants raised in greenhouses or windowsills to cooler temperatures under cloches and increased air movement otherwise the shock of planting out in the open will be to great. Plants usually require between two to six weeks to harden off before they can be planted in their final growing position. Place your plants under a AcryliCloche® Garden Cloche with the end pieces in place and gradually reduce the time the end pieces are off during the day. On mild days gradually increase the time the cloche is off replacing it only at night. Eventually the cloche can come off though half-hardy and frost tender plants must be protected until the danger of frost has passed.


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