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Poly-Tunnels and Cloches

Rotating Cloches in the Garden
We give the example of how to use the same set of cloches to cultivate three types of vegetable / fruit in the same season. All three will mature earlier than an unprotected crop.

Please excuse the quality of the plant drawings! More details on the vegetables discussed below (and other vegetables) can be be found by clicking on the link to the next page in this series at the bottom of this page.

Plant the strawberries in late August with no cloche protection (too hot). Put the cloches on in late October to quicken the speed of growth and encourage an early crop.


Remove the cloches from the strawberries in mid March and place over the empty Plot 2. This will warm the ground ready for the Sweet Corn.


Sow sweet corn inside in mid April . This will ensure that they germinate evenly. Plant outside under cloche protection one month later.


Remove the cloches from the sweet corn in mid June . Sow lettuce seed in plot 3 at the same time but do not cover with the cloches until mid September . The lettuce will be ready for harvesting in late September to late October .

Plants used for no mow lawns include a large number we commonly regard as herbs with necessary low growth and matting characteristic. Obtaining seed may be a problem as many of these plants are propagated vegetatively, usually by division.   You can start by growing your own plants, dividing them and growing them on in plugs to plant a small area at a time, waiting for the gaps to close. The soil should be prepared as for a grass lawn.  It should be as weed free as possible but not compacted.  Watering depends on the species grown but should not be overlooked in the establishment stage.  You can make up your own plant mix.


Perhaps one of the better known plants, Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) is a hardy, evergreen perennial and is the best variety to use as ground cover.  It has daisy-like flowers, feathery foliage and an apple fragrance when crushed.  Seeds are available through specialist merchants and can be planted in trays, grown on after pricking out.  About fifty plants per square metre are needed.
Thyme makes a great lawn. If you plant several different creeping types, you can get an interesting effect with the different coloured flowers. Thyme likes a sunny spot in free-draining soil. Corsican mint (Mentha requienii) and pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) also make great lawn substitutes and give off a delicious scent when stepped on.


Ajuga or bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) is a creeping perennial in green, purple and variegated forms, sold as a ground cover.  Uncut, it produces spikes of blue flowers in late spring.
One should not forget clover, often considered a lawn weed.  Its white or pink flowers are favoured by bees and its deep roots make it drought resistant.  Unmowed, it forms a dense, deep green mat.
This is not an exhaustive list; there are many more plants that are low growing with a creeping habit that can tolerate foot traffic.  It would be fun to research and experiment with the different colours, textures and habits.


Click here to buy a cloche online from our recommended suppliers.

The vegetables above may not be your favourites, but different vegetables can be substituted and if you will click on the link to the next cloche page below we will deal with how to treat most vegetables which benefit from cloche growing.