Protecting your Tasmanian veggies is easy! Build a simple garden cloche.
Every gardener has had that sinking feeling of going out to check on your vegetable patch only to see the silver beet munched, the tomatoes snapped off and the lettuces completely missing. There are lots of hungry little mouths out there just waiting to enjoy the fruits of your labour. Everything from possums and wallabies, to rabbits, rodents, insects, even birds are looking for an easy nutritious meal and your vegies are just the thing!
So how do you protect your valuable crop? Some options involve chemicals, pesticides, traps and even more direct lethal means. However, there are some easy and cost effective methods of keeping your crop safe without harming the animals that live in your environment. The simplest option is a barrier between your crop and the pest in question. A fence around your vegies is a good start for keeping out larger pests, but anything that can climb or has wings will be into your crop quick smart!
So, a cloche is an even better option. Cloche is French for “Bell” and in horticultural terms it refers to bell shaped covers used to protect single plants. Our cloches use the same principal but are modified to fit rows or patches in your garden. Every gardener has their own design for these and it really is a case of horses for courses. This basic design costs about $35, takes about half and hour to make and protects seedlings in a bed of 2m long by 40cm wide.
Making a Cloche:
You will need:
2 x lengths of approximately 50mm x 25mm hardwood timber at 2m per length, and 1 x length at 1m.
Approximately 2.5m of aviary wire netting (half inch holes) which is 90cm tall.
3 x 90cm lengths of black poly irrigation tubing or plastic garden edging.
14 30mm self tapping screws 1 small box of flat head galvanised clouts (nails) 1 bag of 150mm cable ties
First lay out your two 2M lengths of timber spaced 90cm apart length ways. (we will call these the “rails”). Then, attach the poly pipe to connect the ends of the rails, forming a frame where the long sides are timber and the short sides are pipe.
Find the mid point of the 2M rails and attach the third length of poly pipe across the frame. Now lay your wire mesh out flat across the frame. The edges of the wire should run along the rails and sit over the poly pipe. Nail the wire onto the rails at 15cm intervals along the frame. Bang the nails in half way then bend them over the wire to hold it in place.
Now cut the remaining piece of timber (the 1M piece) into two 40cm lengths. Take the lengths and put two screws in each end ready to attach them to the sawn ends of the rails.
Bring the two long sides of the frame towards each other and the wire and pipe will bend to form an arch. Screw on the 40cm length of timber at each end to connect the two long timber rails. Now you have a timber rectangle base with the wire and pipe sitting as an arch above it.
Next cut two 45cm x 45cm pieces of wire mesh. These will cover the ends. Nail them onto the timber ends and tie them onto the poly pipe using the cable ties. You can fold the excess mesh over and secure it down, or just cut it off.
Now your cloche is almost finished!! Lay it on the ground and secure the wire mesh to the 3 lengths of poly pipe using the cable ties. 4 per length of pipe should do it.
And there you have it, one cloche ready for your next batch of seedlings. We costed ours out at about $35 buying everything from scratch, but you probably have some of the fixings already laying around.
As you can see from the pictures, we substituted the poly pipe for some old plastic garden edging we had spare. Anything strong but flexible will do. Have a go at building these yourself and let us know how you get on! Also share your changes or modifications and improve on our design.