Very useful for early crops. The cheapest and best can be found in season from Supermarkets. Usually in kit form, 5 m long x 2 m wide perforated, UV stabilised polythene cover, with sufficient plastic support hoops. The edges of the polythene cover must be well fixed to the ground with stones or lengths of timber, or soil, otherwise the cloche will blow away or the plastic will tear in the first gale. (TP £4)
While most people will use old clothes while gardening, there are some clothes that are specially make for gardening. There are trousers made of strong cloth with many pockets and built-in knee pads. (TP £7 ) Also available are caps and hats with protective brims to prevent sunburn to the face and back of the neck. (TP £2 )
Useful for over wintering tender plants and hardening off young plants. Can be home- made using an old window on top of a timber frame. Various commercial types available including the steel framed, U. V. stabilized, reinforced plastic covered “tent”. (TP £15)
Essential for rotting down annual weeds, and waste vegetables. Traditionally homemade from timber posts and slats. Also now available in plastic with a lid, for a neater appearance in gardens. (TP £30)
GARDENING BOOTS, WELLINGTONS OR SHOES
You will need Wellingtons for wet days and muddy conditions. Otherwise, Gardening Boots should be suitable for most other conditions. Shoes are not really suitable, as the sides are not high enough to prevent soil and mud getting inside them. Whatever footwear you decide on, try and get it with steel toe caps and a protected sole. This will help to protect your feet from accidents involving nails, rakes and forks. You can find protective footwear, suitable for Gardening, in season at Lidle and Aldi. (TP £10-£15 )
Strangely, most of the gloves made especially for gardening, are not particularly suitable. Particularly, avoid those with a ribbed surface, as the mud clings onto them like glue! The best and cheapest, are the red, pvc coated cotton ones, made for industrial use, though they are usually found in large sizes. (TP £2)
Also useful, if you are growing thorny plants, such as brambles or gooseberries, are leather, or butile covered gloves. (TP £6). Whichever type that you use, remember to hang them up to dry in a warm place after use, otherwise they can become very smelly!
The most useful type is the green, three strand jute. Two strand jute twine is far too weak for general use. Buy the large economy size. (TP £2.50). Where an even stronger twine is required, use the green polypropylene type. (TP £2). But beware, do not use the polypropylene twines to tie up fruit tree branches to posts, as they will strangle the branches as they grow. By the time that you notice, it is too late and the damage is done.
Useful to prevent housemaid’s knee. (TP £2)
The most useful type is green plastic, some 2 m in height, with a mesh size of 15 cm. For 8 m length (TP £4 )
This is a white spun polypropylene spun fabric, which allows some moisture through, but also provides some wind protection, and about 3 C degrees of frost protection. It comes in 2 weights of fabric, 15 g and 30 g, and usually in sheets 1.5 m wide by 8 m long. Do not bother with the designed plastic pegs, as the fabric tears in strong winds. Far better to anchor the fabric with weighted timbers along the edges. The fabric will float on top of strong plants, such as cabbages. For delicate seedlings, rest the fabric on plastic hoops, cut from plastic flexible tubing, to prevent the fabric flattening the seedlings.
Against insects, such as carrot fly, use “Environmesh type” (TP£ 5) for 2 m x 5 m. Again, support over seedlings provided by suitable lengths of plastic tubing.
Against insects such as cabbage butterfly, use plastic netting with a mesh size of 1 cm square. You will find the larger sheet size of netting, 4 m by 5 m, more useful than the smaller sizes. It is also possible to use the protective plastic mesh sheeting used on building sites. You might “acquire” some at the end of the contract.
Against birds taking fruit, use plastic mesh netting with mesh size 2.5 cm. You will find that the bigger sizes of netting are most useful for covering fruit cages.
PLANT SUPPORT CABLE
Where you need to “tie in” raspberry canes or similar, use plastic coated washing line (get the green one) and attach to wooden posts, ( TP£2) for 50m length, or reuse old T.V. aerial cables. Traditionally, you could use thick galvanised wire, but that is quite expensive and difficult to find and not so easy to handle.
WEED CONTROL FABRIC
Use porous groundcover fabric, well weighted down, to control annual weeds, or place under paths also to control weeds.
There are several types available commercially. However, you can easily make your own from plastic or glass containers, suitably baited with sugar syrup.
Keep a lookout for reusable materials in skips or that have been dumped. E.g. Timber for posts or building greenhouses, huts, cold frames, fences; black plastic sheeting for weed suppression; concrete slabs for paths; fencing; green protection mesh from building sites; clear plastic bottles to protect plants; old polystyrene fish boxes for seed trays. It all saves money!! Particularly check out any skips at the allotments, as new plotters chuck out perfectly good reusable stuff as well as the bad.