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Make Your Own (Recycled) Garden Cloches

large_bells.jpgHave you ever seen traditional garden cloches? They are beautiful, glass bell jars that you put over tender plants to protect them from the harsh elements and insects. You can use cloches to get a head-start on the growing season. They add a very classy, Victorian look to a garden. Imagine a row of them, covering all the early seedlings in a garden. How lovely! And imagine the expense! At $50 or $60 a pop, these beauties are not cheap.

Using cloches is an ingenious gardening technique, however, and we’ve managed to do so for the last few years with a bit of DIY attitude. If you are itching to get your garden going again, this is an easy, earth-friendly recycling project with which you can pass a little time until the snow melts.

Do It Yourself ClochesWe save large-ish clear plastic juice bottles, from cranberry juice, for example. With heavy sheers or a knife, carefully cut off the bottom of the plastic bottle. Once you’ve transfered your seedlings to your garden soil, top them off with a plastic cloche. The cloche keeps the air warmer, but vents itself through the spout, so it doesn’t get too hot inside. Cloches can cut down on insects on your plants. Using cloches has reduced the number of flea beetles that find and nibble on my baby eggplants.

Ours are not particularly gorgeous, but they serve the purpose. We switch them around after a week or two, moving them to the newer or smaller seedlings over the course of the start of our garden. Jim came up with a clever and whimsical way of storing our plastic cloches too. He strings them on a rope, creating a very cute clear dragon that we hang on a peg in the barn when the cloches are not in use.

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  1. GardenReg says

    We have a problem with our cloches flying about in the wind. Does anyone have any hints to keep them in place?

Continuing the Discussion

  1. DIY Cloches: A snake in the grass — Our Twenty Minute Kitchen Garden linked to this post on May 10, 2008

    [...] it’s only the afore-mentioned cloche snake, Jim’s clever way of storing our homemade cloches. We hang the snake in the barn [...]

  2. Farmer’s Market Foray #1 - Brassicas — Our Twenty Minute Kitchen Garden linked to this post on April 26, 2009

    [...] after the first frost. I’ll be adding a bit of protection for these little darlings with our juice-jar cloches but the chilly ground shouldn’t bother them much. If I planted, say, tomatoes this early, [...]

  3. Seed Swap Recap - Idaho Community Gardens linked to this post on October 25, 2010

    [...] case you missed the event, I had five articles on indoor gardening, grow lights, cover crop basics, making your own recycled garden cloches, and building a root [...]

  4. Cold Frame 20 years in the Making | Our Twenty Minute Kitchen Garden linked to this post on March 29, 2011

    [...] Michigan. We’ve employed a variety of season extenders in our gardens over the years, from modest juice-jar cloches to a sandbox turned nursery bed with some clear plastic. For quite awhile, however, I’ve [...]

  5. Make a cool thumb controlled watering pot out of recycled materials | Our Twenty Minute Kitchen Garden linked to this post on January 14, 2012

    [...] re-purpose the materials that flow through our lives. In our garden, we have used empty bottles to make cloches and yogurt containers for starting seeds. We used old windows to make cold frames. Small branches [...]

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