Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Garden in Williamsburg

     I have plants on the mind. We are so busy with the farm in the spring that I often think about plants, farms, and vegetables. I enjoyed seeing this garden on our recent trip.


     I found it interesting that  they used upside down clay pots as mini-greenhouses to shelter tender young plants. They also used cloches. Cloches are bell shaped glass covers. They remind me of a glass cover for a cheese board or tray. The cloche was started by French gardeners, then followed by the English.
Glass was quite expensive in Colonial times,so not everyone employed this method. Apparently knobs were later added, but they only served to aid in magnifying too much sun, which burned up the plants, so many were removed. There have been many variations over the years and some glass cloches have survived, but as we all know, glass is fragile.



     The use of a cloche seems to make more sense in a cooler area. In warmer growing areas, the plants might be more likely to burn up. I have read about wax paper cloches, and ones made of plastic. All of these things serve to act as mini- greenhouses. The one I think would be most fun to make would be a cloche from an old lamp shade that could be recovered with a white garden fabric row cover. The directions I found to make those suggested coating the metal with something to prevent rust. I think these are all great ideas, but our 4-5 acres of vegetables would be pampered way too much, so they'll have to just settle for greenhouse starts and row covers when the plants are big enough to be out.



13 comments:

  1. Rows of tiny terrariums. :) they'd definitely burn up here!

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  2. Like the sheltering clay pot idea!:)

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  3. The clay pots actually are quite attractive looking.

    Cindy

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  4. 4-5 acres???? Good Grief! That's even bigger than the gardens we planted while I grew up! You are going to be one busy lady this summer and fall! We have also used old tires to put around tomato plants and the plastic accordion looking "cloches" to keep with your terms. I'm not sure that is what they were actually called, but they were double layered, and Dad put water in between the layers to create a warm moist environment for his beloved plants. Thanks for the memory jog! At my house clay might work best. I don't think the rabbits can chew threw that material! Danged furry things!

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  5. The Williamsburg gardens are so pretty. I love visiting sites, like Williamsburg, and taking a quick trip back in time.
    Thanks for all of the interesting information - I never knew that the knobs intensified the light and heat, but it makes sense!

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  6. My grandpa always used 1 gallon glass jars businesses used to get mayonnaise in and they would just give them to him. He always put his tomatoes in February. Drove my Dad nuts. There was always a tomato war going on, One year Grandpa left his jars off during the night we had a surprise freeze, boy did my Dad laugh and laugh. :)I think I like the idea of clay pots better, it is porous. Of course waiting until all signs of frost is past works too. :) Have a great weekend too.

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  7. In my dreams my gardens look like the ones at Colonial Williamsburg. I even have pictures of their gardens as the backgrounds on my laptop. . .>Sigh< if only it were real. . .

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  8. That garden looks beautiful, love all of your cloche ideas:@)

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  9. I love the clay pot idea but you are right 4 to 5 acres wow that would be a lot of pots. B

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  10. How I love Williamsburg and the gardens are my favorite. I wish I had a Williamsburg style garden. Farmer and I would love to do our veggie garden more like this and we are building raised beds this year for some of our goodies--so we will see. I also love cloches :)
    Missed you lady--I have been so covered up at work--I don’t have a light at the end of the tunnel right now--afraid it’s a train :) LOL

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  11. The pictures are wonderful! You certainly do have a lot of gardens with 4-5 acres.

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  12. I have never heard of using clay pots. What a great idea. Really like your blog. So glad that I found it!

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