Last updated: May 11, 2022

What Does Cloche Mean?

A cloche is a cover that is placed over a seedling in the early planting season to protect the it from the elements, like a mini greenhouse.

Traditionally bell-shaped and made from glass, modern cloches are usually made from plastic and come in various shapes and sizes.

The use of cloches can be traced back to market gardens in 19th century France, where entire fields of plants would be protected with cloches. However, nowadays in commercial growing, cloches have largely been replaced by row cover, and are mainly found in smaller gardens.


Maximum Yield Explains Cloche

Cloches are designed to be placed on top of plants to keep them warm, protect them from snow and ice. Garden cloches are also known as glass domes that are placed over plants that are sensitive to cold.

The word ‘cloche’ actually means ‘bell’ in French. The glass enhances the light and heat for the plant and protects it from direct contact with snow or ice. Cloches are most useful for small plants and starts because they take up space in the garden bed.

Semi-permanent structures such as greenhouses, cold frames, and hoop houses offer protection from the elements, but are not as portable or convenient as cloches. Cloches are also more effective and protective for fragile or delicate plants than draping a cloth or plastic sheet for cover.

There are various types of cloches available on the market. A solar umbrella cloche, like the name suggests, opens and closes like an umbrella. It's held in place by a pole in the center and is adjustable in height, allowing for venting.

A lantern cloche features a frame and durable double-walled plastic windows, giving it the appearance of a lantern. It's lid can be set askew to allow for venting.

A solar bell cloche is a simple, lightweight plastic version of the traditional glass jar cloche.

A DIY gardener can make a simple, homemade cloche from plastic milk jugs with the bottoms cut out. They are vented by opening the lid. Soda bottles can also be used, however both offer only a few degrees of frost protection.


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