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A cloche, French for "bell", is a miniature greenhouse that can be placed directly over plants.
Making a cloche from a plastic bottle
This cloche can be used to protect seeds and seedlings during the colder part of the growing season, keeping them warm and safe from snails and slugs.
- Select a plastic drinking bottle. The size depends on how many seeds or seedlings you want to cover at once. You can always make a few, as the plastic bottle is ubiquitous and cheap.
- Empty the bottle of any liquid. Wash it out and dry it if needed, to remove any sugary elements if that was the base of the drink. Also remove any labels; they can be peeled off or soaked off.
- Wash and replace the lid. It forms part of the cloche.
- Use a craft knife or non-serrated knife to cut off the bottom of the bottle. Do this as neatly as possible.
- Use. The bottle can now be placed around the seeds or seedling by pushing it into the ground, the cut open end facing downward into the soil. Push down at least 2.5cm/5cm to ensure that it stays in the ground and doesn't blow away.
- Remove when the weather gets hotter and/or the plant grows too large for it (or you need to thin out the seedlings).
For higher cloches, bottles can be placed within bottles of varying sizes.
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