Wednesday, 4 December 2013


On the assumption that Winter will eventually arrive, I have deployed most of my cloches, and much of the garden is now clothed in plastic:

The tall plants in the distance to the left of the compost bins are PSB and Cavolo Nero - too tall for cloches, and they don't need them anyway. In the foreground of the bed nearest the camera are Parsnips. No need for cloches there either. Elsewhere however there are lots of Chicory, Endive and Radicchio plants, and it is them that I have protected.

To be honest, the Chicory family is generally pretty hardy and will survive several degrees of frost, but I think that protecting them (particularly from wind) will make them nicer. Their leaves will be softer because they don't have to toughen-up in the face of icy blasts. Cloches like mine don't really provide much extra warmth (except perhaps on the rare sunny days), but they will protect to a certain extent from wind, hail, snow and frost.

I use two different types of cloche. The first is this long type - aptly named "Longrow" - made by Parasene, but widely available.

These cloches are 1.2 metres long, and are thus suitable for protecting a row of small plants. Conveniently, my raised beds are 2.4 metres long, so will accommodate two of these cloches placed end-to-end. They do come with end-pieces fitted with an adustable vent, but these have proved to be far too flimsy and not fit for purpose. They do not fit in very securely and keep popping out and blowing away. I must say that I find this very disappointing in a product that sells for about £35. I had expected better!

My other type of cloche is the bell-cloche, suitable for protecting a single plant, or possibly a couple of small ones.

I have three of these, which were sold as a set. I think they are really good, and excellent value at £10 a set (two years ago). They have an adjustable ventilation aperture at the top, which I find useful for giving the plants a quick drink without having to remove the whole thing, which is kept in place by two U-shaped metal staples. At present I have each one protecting two Chicory / Endive plants. I wish I had some more of them. Recently I saw some in my local Garden Centre which I initially thought were the same, but they turned out to be made of much thicker plastic and were being sold at £12.99 each, so I didn't buy any!

I forgot to mention that one of the other things that cloches provide protection against is animals. Foxes / badgers / cats / whatever, have dug up several of my Chicories this Autumn, and I am fed up with having to re-plant them!


  1. Good luck over the winter. I think I've finally given up growing things to pick during the winter. It just isn't worth it with all the snow and the lack of sun. But technically it is still fall. So maybe I'll get a harvest or two more.

  2. Looks good. I really like those long ones.

  3. Unfortunately cloches aren't really practical on the plot. One thing is they would most likely blow away!

  4. I think you've deployed these in the nick of time if the weather forecast is anything to go by.

  5. You cloches were a bargain....they resemble cake domes and look really cute.


Thank you for taking time to leave me a comment! Please note that Comment Moderation is enabled for older posts.