Gardening: Tool Box: Fleeced yet good value

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The Independent Online
OUR neighbour was only half-joking when he asked if a parachute had landed in the garden. The truth was more prosaic. The professional gardener upon whose expertise I rely had protected a patch of recently tilled soil with the sort of 'fleece' sold by Agriframes at pounds 10.25 for 40ft by 5ft length (on special offer at pounds 7.95 inc p&p until 30 April).

Spun from light and remarkably tough polypropylene, this is an inexpensive, easy-to-use alternative to the traditional cloche and cold frame. Held up by hoops, and down with soil piled along the edges, it is warming the soil for carrots and will protect them from frosts and winged pests.

Its ability to withstand bad weather was proved when strong winds laced with snow arrived. Its other attractions include letting rain through while offering protection from storms. The fleece also shades plants that would otherwise be dried out by the sun. It is available from shops and garden centres, or from Agriframes.

Agriframes Ltd, Charlwoods Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex RH19 2HG (0342 328644).