The best garden cloches
Are you in the process of bringing young plants out of the soil and into the open? Maybe you’ve already had your eye on a garden cloche or two, and really aren’t sure what you should be looking for in the top choices.
Never fear, as once more, Real Men Sow is here to help you sort the wheat from the chaff. The garden cloche is more than just a simple glass belljar or dome. Glass cloche and bell domes can be crucial allies in your fight against some of the nastiest bugs and diseases the elements are likely to bring to your plants and vegetables in your garden.
But what should you be looking for in the perfect garden cloches? Should you choose standard bell cloches, garden cloches in a particular style or shape, or will a tunnel shaped cloche suit your needs the most?
Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start with cloches. It might seem simple enough to just buy a glass bell and be done with it. However, if you really care about your garden, and the young plants and older shrubs you have in it, you’re going to want to look for the most ideal equipment and tools that money can buy.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at all kinds of garden cloche options, perfect for various growths, vegetables and more besides. We’ll review five of our favourite picks from the web, and will take you through what to look for when shopping around, too.
The Best Garden Cloches
Plastic cloches, glass bell cloches – what’s the top option? Surely greenhouses do everything that a basic cloche might offer when it comes to seedlings’ protection? Not always.
Whether you’re new on the grow or are looking for different ways to make sure your garden fights back against the elements, here are five easy cloche products you can use to safeguard your beloved plants and veggies in the months and years to come.
In This Review?
Best Value Cloche
Victorian Bell King Size by Haxnicks
Ok, so let’s start with a plant cloche that’s going to get your seedlings and older plants the protection they need for less. For two jumbo glass bell cloches, these models are some of the lowest priced online – meaning you really should get this deal while it lasts.
This product receives brilliant reviews on the whole and is reportedly designed to maximise natural light into the dome. It’s easy to get these glass cloche systems stuck in, too, with pegs that you can use to push down if you really need to protect your plants further.
These cloches come with a vented top, meaning it’s easy for your crops and plants to get access to air as and when they need to. There’s never any risk of the cold or anything sinister in the air getting access to your crops.
On top of all of this, these cloches should also promote healthier soil at least in terms of temperature, and, of course, it’ll mean that even the most sensitive of plants and veggies you’re growing get safety guaranteed from all kinds of garden pests.
The best part is, there are some bell cloches which retail on their own for twice the price. For less than £15, you get two bell cloche products for you to grow under. It’s a quick, simple way to make sure you protect the weakest of plants in your line up.
Dimensions:40 x 40 x 30.5cm
Type: Glass Bell Cloche
Best for Durability
Haxnicks Bell 050101 Original Bell Jar Cloches
What’s better than two garden cloches for the price of one? Three, naturally! This alternative soil warming cloche from Haxnixcks is another popular choice, great for using with weak vegetables and seedlings when you really need to get them through difficult winters.
In fact, many people advise that winter season gardening is likely to be the best time for you to use this cloche. Choose this simple cloche system and you will get a warm soil bed and a small amount of ventilation towards the top of the dome. This is likely to be a big help when your plant is desperate for air during the winter season, but if you still need to keep it free from pests and bad weather.
On the whole, this cloche system is really easy to use and is part of the manufacturer’s wider range of no-frills items. If you want to free your seedlings and young plants from the terrors of the frost and various garden pests, keep them clear of all that nastiness and get one or more of these brilliant cloche options for your garden.
Some users may feel that these options are perhaps a little flimsy in places – but they are still ideal for many young plants, and we really can’r quibble with the price.
Dimensions: 30 x 30 x 40cm
Type: Glass Bell Cloche
Best Modular System
Ah – the tunnel. When you have several vegetables or plants and once that you’d like to get under the protection of cloche, it may be worth looking for a tunnel frame. This way, you can comfortably place your seedlings under a long cover and help them to ride out the colder end of the year in a warm patch of soil.
What we really like about this Stewart cloche is the fact that it’s modular. For the uninitiated, this means that you can extend it and modify it however you choose – more or less! Ultimately, you can snake it out if you need to really get a bed of plants protected from pets and appalling weather.
We think the tunnel cloche is a massive help for one or more plants who need to get under the cover during winter. If you’re worrying that more of your plants are likely to suffer than a little while gardening later in the year, simply place down and pop out this waterproof and weather proof tunnel cloche and make the most of the season. It’s perfect if you are looking to get your hands on a range of tough, durable cloches for the garden, too.
Dimensions: 39 x 30 x 21cm
Type: Tunnel Cloche / Modular Cloche
Protect Young Plants from Bad Weather 3 x Greenhouse Cloche
Thompson & Morgan Outdoor Garden Cloche / Mini Greenhouse Growing Tunnel
One look at the price of this cloche system and you might there’s a cheaper range of cloches elsewhere – but the fact is, you do get a set of three cloches for the price, perfect if you need to keep more than a few seedlings in the warm soil and protected from the frost.
The cloche range appears to produce some of the top reviews for tunnels online, and while you may prefer glass cloches for the look or for the apparent stability, clear plastic with all the air vents you need are just as good. What’s more, you can get growing all kinds of plants and vegetables in the soil all year round with these cloches.
You can easily save more money on cloches by checking out the bigger and smaller packages from the manufacturer. It’s technically a mini greenhouse!
This system is perfect for making sure that your plants get enough water from the rain, thanks to its collecting reservoir system. This plastic cloche system will also come with the stakes used to imprint your cloches into the ground. Therefore if you are keen to get growing but are worrying about plastic flying off in the wind and deep frost, there’s really no need. These cloches are super easy to set up and quick to get used to.
These cloches are also great at deterring pests and all kinds of curious critter. Slugs, cats, birds – it’s a quick cover that’s going to give your plants plenty of protection in the winter frost. Why use a glass cloche when plastic can do the job?
Dimensions: 85 x 40 x 21cm
Type: Tunnel Cloche
Heavy Duty Plastic Dome Protective Seedling Covers for Outdoors Garden
ESG Reusable Garden Plant Cloche
If you’re really getting into growing vegetables and plants in your garden, then why not get yourself a set of cloches to make sure you protect everything at once? These really simple cloches are some of the most attractively priced online, built in clear plastic but used for heavy duty applications, meaning that they really are tougher than they look. They are, as the name suggests, superb for use after use after use.
These plastic bell cloches are really easy to get used to, and you’re likely to get plenty of use out of them throughout the year. While many gardeners prefer glass cloches for the added durability, there is a lot to be said for securable, hardened plastic. Sure – these cloches may not look as fancy as your glass cloches, but they do the job well – if you are more concerned that you want to protect your plants over making things look good.
These quick and simple garden cloche options are very simple to use and to secure into the soil, particularly as they come with stakes for you to anchor them into the earth. What’s more, if you’re worrying about your plants not getting enough air through the winter, there is an opening system towards the top which you can use at your leisure.
Add on the fact that these cloches come with enough heavy duty stability to ward off wobbles as well as pests, and you’re looking at one of the top performing and top value cloches on the market right now. What’s not to like?
Dimensions: 28.9 x 26.6 x 26.3cm
Type: Plastic Bell Cloche
What is a Garden Cloche?
A garden cloche is, simply, a cover that you can use to help protect your plants. However, as many gardeners will tell you, these options do more than just cover and protect.
Made to cover younger plants and seedlings much like mini greenhouses, the design of a cloche offers ventilation to vegetables and greenery during the winter months. Not all plants like the cold and rain, you’ll soon find out before long!
Therefore, new gardeners and growers will likely find cloche options to be a little more flexible than your common greenhouses, and what’s more, you still get all the help you need to break free from mini pests and bigger critters alike. If you’re running out of options when it comes to protecting your plants and veggies from slugs and the like, and a greenhouse isn’t in your arsenal, take a look at things from a new angle.
A garden cloche works great as a cover you can get to protect against pests and nibbling creatures, but you’ll also find that it works really well when it comes to locking out the cold, too. Even the toughest of plant species need warm soil, and when the bad weather rolls around, that’s not always going to be so easy to come by. Therefore, consider your options when it comes to cloches – are your plants really likely to withstand the cold of the months to come?
It’s tempting to think that all cloches are made the same way, or that cloches are all made to just protect and cover the same old crops. Take a long, hard look online, and you will actually find there is plenty of variation. Take a look at reviews of different types of cloches, too.
Naturally, you can’t get cloches for free unless you’re lucky, but if you make a point of hunting for cloches on Amazon and elsewhere, you will normally find that they are great value from product to product. Many come in small packages so you can set yourself up with three mini greenhouses to beat the cold, for example!
Do I Need a Garden Cloche?
That all depends on what you’re growing. If you’re new to growing veg and don’t have anywhere to keep them warm during winter, then a cloche or two might just make sense.
That said, the different options available could make things more confusing. Don’t let this get in the way of your new venture! You are likely to need tunnels or bell cloches if you have a plant or two that’s going to fail in the cold or the frost.
It’s also worth looking to get a cloche or two for your crops if you don’t have a greenhouse. Greenhouses don’t come cheap, and putting up any kind of greenhouse takes time and effort. If you’re only starting to grow a handful of veg or seedlings and just want to make sure you protect them during winter, these mini coverings are likely to add plenty of value to your gardening experience.
Many people have made light work of protecting their plants and gardens with the top cloches around. Whether you choose tunnels or bells, you’ll be able to ventilate your plants so they can be free from stuffiness every once in a while. Sometimes your plants need a little help here and there, and why not?
Types of Garden Cloche
Options, options, options – there are more than a few! The perfect garden cloche for you will depend on the crops you want to protect. The design of the perfect cloche product might be long, short or dome shaped. The choice is yours.
Before you invest in any new cloche equipment for your garden, however, let’s break down some of the more popular types of mini greenhouse available.
- Plastic Bell Cloches – these tend to be really cheap and – while they might add a bit of tackiness to your garden – they do still work really well. They are entry level cloche options, on the whole, are very lightweight, but some are impressively strong. You can see from our list above that there are some cloches made from heavy duty plastic, meaning you can feel free to protect your plants in something a bit lighter than the average.
- Glass Bell Cloches – the glass cloche is a classic option. This mini greenhouse is something like the top of a cake stand! However, it’s more than just made to cover things up, as it should normally come with a little vent that you can flip open and closed at the top. Many people prefer these options as they give plants plenty of space to breathe, and they are naturally some of the toughest and hardest wearing cloches around.
- Cloche Tunnels – tunnels free up even more space if you really want to cover up the crops. If you don’t fancy putting down multiple glass dome or bell cloches, you can choose to cover multiple in a tunnel instead. Tunnels generally come made in plastic, meaning that you are dealing with mini Tupperware snakes which, again, should offer your crops plenty of ventilation.
There may be further variations on these, however, bells and tunnels tend to be the most popular. If you are a new gardener, you will likely find that ideal options for single plants are bells, while tunnels can often work well for multiple vegetables or plants in a line. As always, make sure to read up on a few reviews before you make any kind of decision.
What Should I Look for in a Garden Cloche?
Generally, you should be looking for a garden cloche that gives you the effects of a greenhouse without the need for you to actually build that structure from scratch.
However, you do have plenty of options when it comes to narrowing down cloches, meaning that depending on the number of plants or crops you need to protect or want to add to your mini greenhouse, your ultimate choice may vary.
Here are a few of the factors and features we considered when it came to looking for the top options for garden cloches.
Is It Worth Getting a Cloche, a Cold Frame or a Greenhouse?
Cloches and greenhouses both really do the same sort of thing. They keep plants and vegetables out of the cold, and free from the terror of garden pests. However, cloches tend to be really good at keeping growing plants out of the way of diseases and nasty fungi, too.
The midpoint option if you are worrying about space, of course, is the cold frame. A cold frame is a protective box of sorts which, while bigger than a cloche, is smaller enough than a greenhouse, on average, for it to be worth the money if things really are tight on the space front.
However, if you only have a couple of plants you want to keep free from the cold and the threat of pests, then it makes sense to invest in a cloche. We’d go some way to recommend a wire cold frame or similar if you have a few crops which just aren’t going to endure the winter, though you will need to go a way to make sure you have space and time available to set one up.
A cloche is much easier and cheaper to manage than a wire cold frame or otherwise in a way, in that all you have to do is pick up your cloche and uncover your plants. However, there are reasons why people tend to go for the cold frame as the first choice.
Greenhouses are great if you are using the space for plenty of different crops and plants. If you are thinking of using greenhouses to help grow vegetables, but you are still new to the idea of growing anything at all, we’d probably suggest using cloches first. Make use of the space you have available, and free up more if you really get into the vegetable or plant growing game.
If you get a fair way into being green-fingered and want to look at using a frame or house to protect your young plants, don’t let us stand in your way!
Using cloches, a baby step towards using a cold frame or two, is really simple. Made for those gardeners who only need a quick fix to get their handful of crops covered and protected, cloches are generally used if you are just getting started in growing veg or plants, too.
As you can see, there are a few types of cloche to consider, and while a full greenhouse might seem tempting at first, we’d advise it’s worth going a way with cloches initially and to see how you get on. We hope our guide has proven useful – and yet again, always make sure to read up on what verified buyers have to say in the matter, too.