Parsley plant on right had cloche, no lid, placed on it in February 09, the other two plants, one left one upper right were not covered.

                 ‘Raven’ zucchini put under the cloche about early March and sprouted 2 weeks later. Some cold damage can be seen on the top plant, but growth seems slow, but not stopped.

             This demonstrates the real ability of cloches to  create an hospitable environment for not only forcing early growth, but getting cool and warm season crops a head start in the growing season. The un-lidded cloches will remain until the weather stabilizes or the plant begins to outgrow the cloche.

             Three weeks before last possible frost date in Middle Tennessee, the Corno di Toro sweet peppers are under their cloches. The Sierra Fuego jalapeño, San Luis ancho, ‘Joe Parker’ Santa Fe chile, and the green and purple tomatillos will be planted in the garden under cloches Easter weekend; this will be 2 weeks before last possible frost-April 16 for Nashville, TN. Seedlings were started 3/04 in cells under one 55 watt compact fluorescent bulb.

             Although the risk of frost is minimal, the cloches will serve as a ‘terrarium’, as Richard likes to call them, for the warm climate crops for about 2 weeks AFTER the last possible frost.

             The zucchini were seeded into plastic pots and sunk into the ground before being covered with the lidded cloche one month before last possible frost date. They will also be placed in their permanent position in the vegetable garden during the Easter weekend. The Raven cultivar seemed to do better than the Golden Dawn.  When I say ‘LIDDED’  this means that when the temperatures are above 35°F, remove the lids during the day and cover during the nights. Once sprouting is seen, it is best to keep cloches unlidded during the day so that the seedlings do not get baked.

             The cloches are made from Mt. Olive Kosher Dill Pickle jars. Our two younger children absolutely love these pickles, so we have a steady supply of cloches. Richard removes the bottoms with a diamond saw. Be very careful, because they will shatter and are sharp on the cut edge. These are only for use by competent, intelligent adults.

             One week before last possible frost date, the melons and Japanese cucumbers will be planted under a cloche in the vegetable, a.k.a. ‘canning’, garden.


             The treillages were put in place to keep the free-roaming Buff Orpingtons from up-rooting the jalapeño while the cloches were being cleaned! Dusted with Bt and Semaspore bait put out for the grasshopper nymphs.

Text Box: Vegetable Garden