Watering plants in cloches
Soil moisture for crops is important under any system of cultivation, but growing under cloches means you can practice a system of watering which avoids undue compaction of the. Adequate water can be applied from outside the cloches, and the soil surface under them can be kept loose and the plants still have enough moisture. Remember that most cloches are 60 cm (24”) wide or less, and even with only one central row of plants, the greatest distance water has to penetrate from the ground alongside the cloche is 30 cm (12”) or less. The advantages of this approach are greater soil aeration, less algal growth, a saving in time and effort, and no risk of undue chilling of plants and soil. In addition, the soil dries out less rapidly from surface loss, the loose soil acting as a mulch.
There are various methods of applying water. The watering can with rose, hosepipe with rose, and perforated hose (either spray or trickle type) are some of the more usual ways. The trickle system is one of the best because it leaves the soil surface outside less compacted, a very important consideration on clay or heavy soils.
Cloches more than 60 cm (24”) wide can be watered by means of an internal watering method. Straw channels or drain pipes are often used by exhibitors to ensure that water gets to the roots of crops on heavy soils, without having to give the plants a chilling in windy weather.