When planting bushes early, make sure to cloche the bare root plants. Cloches may be made easily out of 1 gallon plastic milk or water jugs by cutting off the bottom and then piling soil half way up the top of the outside of the jug, after it’s been placed over the plant. Watering may be undertaken either by pouring water into the top, or by watering the nearby soil. We’ve already discussed this kind of cloche in previous issues of the Meadowlark Herald, but it bears a refresher at this time of year!
When establishing annuals in cloches, make sure to plant them slightly lower than the level of the soil so that water will drain into the bowel, and also so that when the cloche is removed, the soil will better cover the crown and insulate it when the cloche is gone.
It is a difficult question of when to remove the cap of the cloche. During cold times, keeping the lid on protects the young plant. During hot times, removing the cap reduces the build up of moisture and reduces the risk of disease. Like a stake on a young tree, cloches are essential to the long term success of the plant, but if used excessively weaken or kill the plant.