Monday, October 31, 2005

Cloche, but no Cigar

we have a fairly short growing season here. i have, some years ago, used clear plastic over some framework, field fence or pvc pipe, to form growing tents, called cloches, to extend the season. kinda like a miniature greenhouse. it was my intention to use field fencing with 5" openings to serve as a frame for a tunnel cloche. i needed 50 feet of it to cut into 5 sections to be arched over a growing bed side by side making a tunnel 25 feet long. i thought i had seen such fencing at home depot. alas, i could only find the required fencing in rolls 330 feet long there or anywhere else. plan b was to use concrete reinforcing grid, which is made of very heavy wire welded into a 6" grid, used in slabs and driveways, and which i seemed to recall came in flat sheets 4'x8' or 6'x8'. either size would work and i could picture myself bending a piece even 6' wide into an arch. i returned from my local supply place with the roll of remesh (a new term to me) 7'6" wide and 20' long---curled 90 degrees sideways from the curl i wanted it to have. i'm building a tunnel cloche with the frame i have, not the frame i want. i unloaded it and let it lay there while i considered what sort of wrestling might convince it to form a tunnel.

a good dinner (beets with tofu, millet, salad, and red wine), an evening of restful blog perusal, some trash tv, and a good night's sleep later i was ready. two long 2x6s and an hour or so of nudging and pulling transformed the cylinder above into the parabolic tunnel pictured below.

i planted beet and carrot seeds in about 1/4 of the bed. there are chard, collard, and brocolli starts in the kitchen window to go in the cloche. spinach is planted with the other starts, but so far none has sprouted.

the rocks strewn about were used to hold down black plastic, intended to warm up the soil. they are the roundest rocks i could find.

the finished tunnel cloche, seeded with carrots and beets, ready for the starts mentioned above. one or both ends can be opened on hot, sunny days. the plastic can be rolled back for access to the growing bed. there is a soaker hose inside. i know it seems goofy to water in the rainy winter but it isn't always easy to pull back the plastic during a rainstorm.

yes. this is very late to start growing anything this far north. i should have had this going a month ago at least. it's an experiment. we're all about science here at chez bums.

morning update: we had some fierce wind last night. not a hurricane of course, but still, gusts that shook the house. i wondered if the cloche would be blown into the next county. it held. i looked out at first light and was relieved to see it still there.

1 comment:

  1. Christmas is just around the corner. No time to go to the mall...then do your shopping online. We sell everything that the mall sells. Shop today!