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Improvising, making, or sourcing DIY (do-it-yourself) garden cloches

 
pollinator
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I was watching a video of a lecture Paul Wheaton was giving, and one of the things he said was to stop transplanting.  To plant and use a cloche for an earlier start.  I would love to have cloche, but they are just not in my budget at this time.  I did see on Youtube the other day how they would cut glass bottles by soaking cotton string in acetone, wrapping it two times around the bottle and setting it on fire.  Once the fire went out dunking the bottle in ice water.  Some make it seem simple and easy, some made it seem like you would end up with a jagged mess.  
We have several large whiskey bottles, not because we drink to much, but almost equally as bad my husband can't stand to throw anything away.  He has  "I might need that some day" syndrome.  Anyway I was thinking if I could cut the bottom off I could use it like a cloche, and make use of some of these bottles we cant throw away, or recycle.  (of course if I use them he will point out he was right, I did need them and aren't I glad we kept them)  
The point of this wandering post is has anyone attempted to cut glass this way.  If so how did it go.  Part two other suggestions on diy cloche.  
P.S. I don't have any large mason jars, and we don't eat pickles.
 
pioneer
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Thrift shops often have all manner of inexpensive clear glass bottles, candle holders, mason jars, and vases that can be turned upside down to function as a cloche.  If you decide to check that out, call first to find when or if there are discounted days.  Here there are 50% off days in some of the thrift shops which can make for great shopping.
 
pollinator
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They aren't tall, but I've used them successfully in some cases.



These cheese boards with glass domes show up regularly at thrift shops, and are usually very cheap.
 
gardener
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I can respond to the cutting glass that way business. I saved some funky olive oil bottles to use for partyware. I got the glass to cut but it was unpredictable (didn`t break quite the way I expected). I also didn`t realize I would have to sand/file the glass down afterward. I ended up using electrical tape on the cut edges and it actually looks pretty funky but was totally not what I was expecting.

Anyway.... if the whiskey bottles are what I am imagining, they will probably be too thick for good and predictable cut/break using the flaming string. This cutting business seems to be meant for right in the middle of a tallboy type bottle, which works perfectly, but any funky or thicker glass I`ve tried is not so perfect.
I don`t use cloches but I use large glass jars around my house-- they are hard to find here. I was lucky enough to find a restaurant that uses lots of things that come in big jars (think pickled eggs, enormous jars of pickles and olives, etc) and they are kind enough to sell me their old jars for a pittance. Everyone`s happy.
 
gardener
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I have cut some using bottles using a method I learned from green power science, using water as the heat source.
It worked pretty well, but if I wanted to do it at any scale I would use a wet tile saw.

I think a cold frame might be a better choice for a lot of situations.
 
pollinator
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My husband is making cloches from 1 gallon juice jugs, using a glass scoring jig and a soldering iron.
cloche.jpg
cloche from gallon glass bottle
cloche from gallon glass bottle
 
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I make use of this concept by recycling gallon milk jugs! These are free in cost and I find they work very well. The opaque material diffuses the sunlight  and plastic is a bit of an insulator from cold temps. When I am finished with them they recycle on too.  
jug-greenhouses.JPG
plastic milk jug cloches
plastic milk jug cloches
 
steward
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Tyler Ludens wrote:My husband is making cloches from 1 gallon juice jugs, using a glass scoring jig and a soldering iron.



What is the process? Any pictures of the finished product?
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Here's the video he used for inspiration:  


His tools:
soldering-iron.JPG
[Thumbnail for soldering-iron.JPG]
cuttingjig.JPG
[Thumbnail for cuttingjig.JPG]
cutting.JPG
[Thumbnail for cutting.JPG]
 
gardener
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Catherine Windrose wrote:Thrift shops often have all manner of inexpensive clear glass bottles, candle holders, mason jars, and vases that can be turned upside down to function as a cloche.  If you decide to check that out, call first to find when or if there are discounted days.  Here there are 50% off days in some of the thrift shops which can make for great shopping.



Garage sales are very good about this too.  I'll buy any large glass vessel with a wide opening and (ideally) straight sides, if the price is a dollar or less.  1-gallon fish tanks (for betas?) are also good.

We are under an unseasonable-but-not-unprecedented frost warning for the next three nights and I had already convinced myself that all danger of frost was past.  Uh oh -- I have half a dozen purchased tomato starts planted out and tender seedlings coming up everywhere.  So today I hauled the garden wagon over to the pallet where I had stacked all my cloches for the summer (a hot sunny day at this time of year will roast anything left under one) and loaded them all back up to drag them to my container garden.  Then I thought I ought to take a photo, so here it is:



 
master steward
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If you cut the bottom off a 1 gallon jug, does the open lid of the jar keep them from overheating during the day?  Do you have to put the lid on at night or does it still hold enough heat in?

I have friends that plant tomatoes out at least a month before our last frost date by using "wall-o-waters".  The thermal mass of the water is likely the key to that working.
 
Dan Boone
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Mike Haasl wrote:If you cut the bottom off a 1 gallon jug, does the open lid of the jar keep them from overheating during the day?  Do you have to put the lid on at night or does it still hold enough heat in?



I haven't done the glass cutting experiments, but I've worked with plastic cloches (like with cut-off milk bottles) and in my climate, no ... a large enough hole in the top to keep the plants from frying on a warm high-sunshine day lets too much heat out at night.  And worse, the answer to "how much hole you need" varies not only with the size of the cloche, but also with the precise weather conditions (sun intensity and ambient air/soil temps).  With enough micromanagement, this can be very effective; basically you butler your plant through each day by providing precisely as much extra shelter as it can tolerate.  But when I call myself a bad gardener, it's because anything I need to micromanage absolutely will be mismanaged until my plants die.  So I'm always looking for "set it and forget it" solutions.

I used these glass cloches in my container garden during the coldest winter months to protect cold-tolerant herbs that are marginal for overwintering in my raised, exposed, deprived-of-earth-heat containers.  Then I put them away because stuff would have got fried.  I only do micromanagement during these marginal frost events in spring and fall, to extend my season a little bit.  Otherwise, I am doomed to fail at it.

 
gardener
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Josiah and Jen's bootcamp threads have pictures of the various cloches they're using; including a video of Fred cutting a gallon glass jug:

https://permies.com/p/1087214 - Start of several posts including cloches in action, and some description of their sources

https://permies.com/p/1093306 - Video of Fred cutting the glass
 
pollinator
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I did not know what a cloche was. Thanks for the info, everyone. This would be an easier way to get some things going, plus the benefit of getting started right in place. And you would breed for ones that do well with this amount of protection so they should do better each year.
 
pollinator
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Has anyone tried the tops off of those clear plastic jugs (5 gal/20 litre) used for bottled water?

I get free ones from the recycling depot and cut them with a carpenter saw.

The bottoms make great scoops/pails. But I have tops left over, and my recycling instinct wants to find a use.
 
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