We grow baby vegetables against the south facing wall of out kitchen garden and are always very keen to force the earliest crop possible. The beautiful wall works as a sun trap which on a sunny day must be one of the warmest parts of Sussex. Our beautiful light soil also warms very quickly in the shelter of the walls, but to get the earliest crops possible we like to give a little assistance in the form of cloches. These are simple structures made from metal hoops constructed by our local blacksmith and polythene which is stretched tightly over the hoops and dug in.
The cloches were erected a couple of weeks ago to warm the soil, and after the beautiful weather we have had, our first sowings are going in today. Radish, turnip, leeks and salad onion are the first seed on the list and with a bit of luck and the help of our cloches we should be harvesting these by May.
Words by Tom, photographs by Martin