Cloches and Cold Frames

Protect crops from pests and bring on their growth in cold weather by covering them with cloches or growing them in permanent cold frames.
From: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Vegetable Gardening

Plastic Bottle Cloches 

Many plants benefit from protection in cool spring and fall weather. Commercial cloches can be expensive, so large, clear plastic bottles, cut in half and placed over plants, are an effective alternative.

Homemade Bottle Cloches are Cost Effective Switch

Homemade Bottle Cloches are Cost Effective Switch

Photo by: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Vegetable Gardening , 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Cold Frames 

Usually permanent structures of brick with framed glass "lights," cold frames are useful for hardening off young plants and extending the productive season of crops such as salads and zucchini. Constructed in a sheltered, sunny spot, they are a good alternative to a greenhouse in a small garden, with the angled lights allowing water to run off and the maximum amount of light to reach the plants. A frame with a hard base is suited to acclimatizing pot-grown plants to outdoor temperatures, while a bed of improved soil allows crops to be grown in the frame. Prop the lights open during the day to provide ventilation, and keep plants inside well watered.

Cold Frames Extend Growing Season of Young Plants

Cold Frames Extend Growing Season of Young Plants

Photo by: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Vegetable Gardening , 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Corrugated Plastic Cloches 

Whole rows of plants can be covered using long, low tunnel cloches, which are left open at the ends for thorough ventilation or closed off when greater protection is required. No rain will reach cloched plants, so remember to water them as necessary.

Corrugated Plastic Tunnel Cloche Covers Entire Row

Corrugated Plastic Tunnel Cloche Covers Entire Row

Photo by: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Vegetable Gardening , 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Rigid Plastic Cloches 

These large cloches are ideal for protecting blocks of young plants or more substantial crops, such as zucchini or early potatoes. The warm, dry atmosphere is also perfect for drying onion crops after harvest. Anchor these light structures to the ground.

Large Rigid Cloches Protect Blocks of Plants

Large Rigid Cloches Protect Blocks of Plants

Photo by: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Vegetable Gardening , 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Next Up

Growing Food Through the Cold Season

Your garden doesn't have to stop producing just because the cold weather has arrived.

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Turnips with yellow flesh are neither hard to find nor hard to grow, though the much more common cousins are very similar in taste and texture.

Purple Top Turnips

Varieties of turnips with white roots topped with purple are among the most popular of all, and are easy to grow in small spaces in home gardens.

When to Plant Turnips

Turnips are cool-weather plants that can be sown in late winter, spring, or late summer to give them the two months they need to mature before it gets too hot or freezes.

Growing Turnips

For thousands of years, colorful turnips and their leaves have been an easy-to-grow staple cool-weather vegetable with few pests or problems.

Turnip Plants

Turnips have a rich history and interesting health benefits, and can be grown easily in spring or fall home gardens.

Growing White Turnips

Turnips with white roots are both easy to grow and valued for their tenderness and sweetness, with some compared with apples for their lack of classic turnip tanginess.

When to Harvest Turnips

Turnips can be pulled and eaten any time after they start growing really well but are completely mature and ready to harvest within six or eight weeks of planting. They can be stored for weeks or even months if harvested correctly.

Turnip Seeds

Sowing and saving tiny turnip seeds is fun, easy, and helps you grow some of the most interesting heirloom varieties for planting year after year.

How to Store Turnips

While turnip greens should be consumed within a few days of harvest, turnip roots can be stored for days, weeks, or even months with the right harvesting and preparation.

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