As usual, spring weather in Rock Hill has been a little bit all over the place. Folks who put in vegetable gardens are usually anxious to gets plants in the ground as early as possible, but with temperatures swinging wildly and the ever-present danger of a late frost zapping the tender seedlings, most people are reluctant to put seeds in the ground too soon. Coke bottle cloches to the rescue!
French Glass to Coca-Cola Plastic
Originally used in market gardens in 19th Century France, a cloche is a protective covering for plants. The first cloches were bell-shaped glass covers (“cloche” is French for “bell”). Now most are made of plastic. With a ready supply of Coca-Cola product bottles, it’s super-easy to make a garden-protecting bunch of cloches for yourself. These Coke bottle cloches are perfect for shielding small-scale gardens from the elements and jump-starting your summer garden.
Use Your Supply
Save up all your clear Coca-Cola product bottles. Smaller single-serving bottles and larger 2-liter bottles both work, but you’ll get longer use out of a larger bottle, protecting the new plants until they are considerably bigger.
This Time, Don’t Go Green
Don’t use green bottles, like Sprite. The light that the green bottles lets through won’t be as helpful to your seedlings’ growth.
Following the instructions here, clean all of the bottles that you plan to use for your Coke bottle cloches. Any sweet residue could draw garden pests.
A Simple Cut
Starting just above the curve at the bottom of the bottle, cut a line around using a sharp craft knife. Make the cut as straight and as flat as possible.
Hold on to the bottom piece that you’ve just removed. You’ll be able to use it for next month’s project.
Save the Cap
Keep the cap on the bottle. You’ll be able to use the cap to vent the cloche without lifting it from the garden soil. If the temperature gets too warm or if you notice an excess build up of moisture, remove the cap to the let the cloche breathe for a while.
The cut you made might leave you with a slightly sharp edge on your cloche. To avoid cutting yourself or potentially damaging the plants you’re trying to protect, dull that edge.
Using an old iron (one that you only use for projects and that doesn’t touch clothing anymore), carefully and slowly melt a small amount of the edge. It won’t take much time or pressure to do the trick.
Label Your Coke Bottle Cloche
Once your seeds are in the ground, you’re ready to cover them with the Coke bottle cloche. Be sure to label each cloche with a weather resistant marker so that you know what you planted, where you planted it, and when it went into the ground.
Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor
Using a Coke bottle cloche can give your summer garden a head start. You’ll be enjoying your tomatoes, squash, beans, and watermelon that much sooner.