The temperature is rising. Today in some areas of the gardens here in Mudgee it reached 27 degrees Celsius. That is enough to cause young or newly transplanted plants to wilt and even die. So we need now to focus on survival strategies for hot weather, not forgetting that at this time of year we will still experience frosts.
A traditional solution to heat and cold is a garden cloche, a small "bell" designed to provide protection from the elements Cloches may be made from various materials. Modern versions use shadecloth or plastic. A traditional cloche is more likely to be woven from bamboo or cane.
A garden cloche can be an expensive purchase. In some organic gardening magazines we have seen bamboo cloches retailing at over forty dollars. At this price a cloche would be more a fashion statement than a practical item of garden equipment. So we went hunting and found doormats with a good open weave in the local Mudgee hardware store. And they cost two dollars each. For the same cost as one organic fashion statement we now have twenty functional cloches at work in the vegetable beds of The Espaliery, protecting this week's plantings of beetroot, French sorrel, land cress and African marigolds. For more on The Espaliery click here.