Cloche or Solar Oven

Having more time this season we are making better use of the garden. Rather than buying plugs and planting the salad crop we have taken to growing from seed. As most people have more time on their hands there is a lack of plants available to buy. Similar to toilet paper and bread flour. In fact there is also a lack of seeds. We however were lucky in ordering seeds online at the beginning of the winter.

We have various salad seeds and some hardy perennial flower seeds. Hopefully the additional flowers will provide us some colour all summer, (maybe not this summer but next could be great), and the salad stuff should keep us going to supplement the shopping.

So with all the above potential we decided to use some reclaimed double glazing units and make some cloches to bring on the seeds in the early season. And they worked brilliantly. We had dwarf French beans (non climbing variety rather than tiny beans), asparagus peas, several types of lettuce, courgettes and some flowers all in cloches when the sun came out one afternoon. We were out cutting back the forest and didn’t even think that the sun may be making our little plants a little warm. When we got back to the barn and took a peak inside great clouds of steam came out. All our little precious plants were cooked. What is more some of the plant pots had melted.

Lesson learnt – open the cloches in the morning in order to avoid our heat traps becoming solar ovens. Also we now have a second use for our cloches once we have enough plants. We can use them to heat water and even cook food, though the latter may take a little experimentation.

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