This post title is obviously a joke as these cloches are not very classy! But, fashion before function doesn’t always work in the garden. Cloches, or mini greenhouses/coverings for plants, are SO useful.
Not only do they protect plants from dips in temperature, but they also shield freshly planted seedlings from very hot sunshine. Ideally, transplanting should be done in the evening, but if this timing is not feasible, you really do need something to protect them from the sun.
Milk jugs make the ideal cloche as they provide plenty of room for the seedlings to grow.
I ran out of milk jugs and was transplanting lots of peppers, eggplants, cucumbers and other tiny seedlings and didn’t want them to get scorched. So I just cut a hole in the bottom of little paper cups and voilà, the seedlings have just enough shade.
Obviously, the paper cups are going to disintegrate after the next few waterings and they are not providing real protection from cold (forecast around here is finally hot, hot, hot!) but I think they will do the job of providing a bit of extra protection while they acclimate to the garden!
If you garden where it is still chilly at night you can use a more substantial cloche and even cover the plants completely (i.e. cap the milk jugs) at night to insulate heat-loving plants (i.e. melons, peppers, eggplants) from the cold. Just make sure to uncap (or uncover) the plants during the day so they don’t suffocate!
Coverings, even as meager as these little cups, will also protect delicate seedlings from wind! If wind is an issue for you, just make sure to pile dirt around the sides of each cloche so they don’t blow away! It would be amazing to have a collection of more reusable cloches (i.e. hand-blown free-form glass, geometric wood/glass mini greenhouse structures and maybe even some with stained glass) but for now milk jugs, paper cups and plastic water bottles will have to do!