Friday 4 March 2011

The new cloches

On Sunday I did a couple of unglamorous, but necessary tasks. I assembled my new cloches, and I pruned the Dogwoods.

I recently ordered some "Longrow Super Cloches", from Garden Oasis. They were on a "buy two, get one free" offer, and cost me just under £70, including delivery. Of course they were delivered flat-packed, so I did have the chore of assembling them. Fortunately this was a job I could do in the garage whilst sheltering from the rain.

Despite a rather unhelpful set of instructions (the pictures were too small and not sufficiently detailed), it didn't take me very long - maybe a quarter of an hour for each one. I have to say that I was unimpressed with the quality of the product. I had expected something a bit more substantial. The end pieces in particular seem exceptionally flimsy, and I think they will be the weak point of the cloches. Anyway, they are done now, so we'll see how we go. I have placed them roughly over one of the raised beds in order to assist the soil to warm up and dry out.

I need a fourth one now, don't I?

For those of you who are interested in such things, may I draw your attention to the construction of the raised beds in the picture above - you can clearly see my way of keeping the corners tight - angle brackets. These things cost me just 80p each at the Building Supplies shop, and I think they are well worth the money.

My other main job on Sunday was pruning the Dogwood plants. There's not much I can say about that really! I know my Dogwood collection is not huge, but these plants do produce a lot of branches and if you are to prune them carefully this can be a long job. Hopefully it will be worth the effort though. I wanted to get the job done before the plants produced a lot of new growth, so that all their energy could go into branches that are NOT going to be trimmed off. Here's a view of the end result...


  1. Great job,Mark!
    I'm looking forward to seeing how effective your cloches will be in the near future. I can see something like circular windows on the end of cloches. Are they for ventilation?
    I'm impressed with your organized planting beds with wooden flames!

  2. I've been wishing for cold frames.


  3. One of the advantages of growing vegetables in a garden rather than a plot is that you can invest a bit more in it. Clocjhes like those would be likely to go walkies on an allotment site!

  4. I am indeed interested in such things, having realised that drilling two bits of thick timber together is a task well beyond my modest building skills.

    Are the angle brackets drilled in, or did you hammer nails in? I am relatively sure I can wield a hammer. Either that or I wait for Bob the Builder to come back to build my deck roof (hurry up Bob!).

    Your garden beds are just lovely... how much space have you left between them?

    And the cloches are very exciting. Lol, as exciting as cloches get :) I jest young Mark, for if I were outside in glorious Fleet, I'd want a blooming cloche myself!

  5. I like the cloches, hopefully they will prove themselves worthy!

  6. But are they fox proof! :p

    I did investigate the brackets after your good advice, they were a bit of a rip of though at over 3 times what you pay. Fortunately I found some 2nd hand ones for free and my new beds are a cinch to put together now, thanks!

  7. Hi Takaeko: Re the new cloches: the little windows at the end are indeed for ventilation. You turn them by hand to either open or closed (no automatic temperature-sensors yet!)

    Ali; I used screws for fixing the angle-brackets, not nails. They stay in place better. The job is a lot easier if you have an electric screwdriver, because each bracket has 6 screws. 6 beds x 4 brackets x 6 screws each = 144 screws! And the space between the beds is the width of one of the paving-stones I used for the pathways: 40cm (in retrospect, 50cm would have been better).

  8. Always admired the supercloches from afar - I'm disappointed you're disappointed with them.

    The raised beds look terrific - using the angle brackets, does that mean you don't need timber posts on the internal corners? What height are the beds, about 6 inches? I think I should do something similar to keep my paths clear.

  9. Stephen: the raised beds do not have any posts at the corners. I have found them unnecessary. The baords are 6 inches / 15cm in depth. Twice the height would be even better, considering how much compost I am add to them each year!

  10. Great beds! Looking forward to seeing them filled with new growth. Hope the cloches perform well - but yes, you do need a fourth now ;-)


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