The original Garden Cloches (Bell Jars) were made of glass and were use to start flowers and vegetables a little earlier than our climate would allow. The beauty of these is that plnats can be started in the position where you want them to grow, no transplanting.
Today they come in a range of designs and materials including Acrylic versions of the traditional glass cloche. And although traditional glass garden cloches are still available, it is the plastic hoop and PVC varieties which are a cheaper alternative to glass that are most widely sold.
Used in the garden to help promote plant growth, the warmth provided allows seeds to germinate earlier and plants to get in extra weeks of growing. Cloches also help protect plants from wind, frost and birds. Looking for a way of kick starting the growing season, try a garden cloche, a home made version can be free, just remember to provide ventilation.
A Garden cloche (Bell Jar if you like) is really a mini greenhouse used in the garden to start seeds and give the growing season an early start, and a late finish. Particularly useful in the vegetable garden cloches are a great way to give seeds and seedlings a head start and protect them from frost.
Cloches made of glass and were first used in the mid 1600s. Materials used today focus on tough plastic or PVC materials although blown glass cloches are still available for sale.
Cloches are usually small enough to be portable and this means that plants can be protected while in the ground, rather than started in a greenhouse and then transplanted.
How Garden Cloches Work
Cloches protect plants from frost , rain, wind and cold. They also warm the soil which is great for germinating seeds as well as promoting growth.
Types of Cloches for the Garden
Small portable poly tunnels are often the cheapest option if you are looking a buying a cloche. These are hoops of wire covered with plastic used to make a tunnel, readily available in kit form.
- Glass cloches look great, and do work well, they are the 'original garden cloche design' however they are more expensive than, plastic, but worthwhile if they are going to be on view.
- PVC Garden Cloches
Lots to choose from, even PVC that looks like a traditional glass cloche. PVC is a plastic material that has the adva ntage of being tougher than glass, and cheaper.
- Bamboo Cloches are now available that are designed to keep birds off new seedlings, they do not provide the heat factor unless covered with a plastic film, but can be useful if birds are a problem.
Plastic containers are a great way to get a supply of free cloches for the garden, simply cut of the bottom and remove the screw top lid.
Larger containers are best as plants need room to grow. Really anything that provides a clear protective cover under which plants and seeds can grow is suitable.
We prefer a vented cloche, as heat can build up quickly on a sunny day.
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