Winter gardening can be a challenge in northern Utah, as our climate tends to the extreme and can change from day to day.
Despite these challenges, many intrepid gardeners brave the colder months to grow what they can. Some prefer to use cold frames or greenhouses, but these structures are bulky and pose a transportation and storage challenge come spring.
As an alternative for your cold weather garden endeavors, why not try using cloches?
What’s a Cloche?
You may think of your Great Aunt Ethel’s Sunday hat when you hear the word cloche, but it’s actually French for bell. And while cloche hats are a thing (most popular in the 1920s and 30s), cloches for the garden are also really handy.
For cold weather gardening, think of them as tiny little greenhouses.
You can use an individual cloche over each plant, or if you have long expanses to protect, you can opt for solid (not free-floating) row covers.
Make Your Own Wintertime Cloches
You can, of course, purchase your cloches, but you may want to rethink that expense.
The ones that you buy are typically made of heavy glass. These are apt to break, and they also can be too much for your plants to handle. The heavy glass doesn’t allow any air circulation, and this can cause your delicate plants to burn on sunny days.
You can make your own individual protectors by cutting two-liter plastic bottles (clear only!) in half and placing them over the plants.
If you prefer to take the row approach, you can make your own row covers using thin polycarbonate sheets from the home store and PVC pipe (or rebar if you don’t mind the rust).
Use Cloches All Year Long
You can put these handy little devices to work for you during the warmer months as well.
Break out your cold-weather shells if a late spring frost threatens, or to force your seedlings to pop up early.
Make or purchase wire cloches for the warm months. You can use them to protect your plants from wildlife and pets that might like to make a meal of your plants, while still allowing in plenty of sun, rain and fresh air.
Here at Millcreek Gardens, conveniently located in Salt Lake City, we have everything you need for your landscape and garden. Winter, summer, spring and fall, we’re here to answer your questions and help you grow beautiful, healthy plants, trees, shrubs and flowers. Stop by today and let our helpful staff offer you more winter gardening tips.