The photo above is one I took two years ago. I was experimenting to see what, if any, difference it made having the jars over my seedlings. I knew the jars kept the bugs and birds from eating them, but I wanted to see if leaving them on for longer made much difference.
The seeds were planted at the same time. After they came up, I put a jar on the ones at the right, and I left the seedlings on the left to grow normally.
The difference in only a very short time was amazing. I’ve been using jars as mini cloches in my garden ever since then!

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  1. Wonderful idea using your jelly jars! Saturday I drove past a house with a garden in the backyard and what a sight to see it filled with half cut 2 liter bottles covering their plants when temps are going to 25 degrees! It sure was colorful from the road. Your lettuce on the right will be ready to eat so much sooner! Young and tender is the best of the garden! Your picture shows a nice contrast.

  2. That is amazing. My husband( he is the gardener I am the overexcited planner) and I can’t wait to try this, we will probably be starting our seeds in the next two weeks.

  3. Excellent — thanks for sharing. I’ve seen this recommended with milk jugs, but since we don’t use storebought milk…not helpful. It never dawned on me to use jars — I have a thing about saving glass jars. Can’t bear to toss them, and there’s no recycling here. “Woot” for another way to put them to good use!

  4. I’ve tried plastic jugs and bottles before, but I didn’t like using them because the wind blew them all over my yard. This idea will give me a good use for the (too many!) empty jars I have in the cupboard.

  5. We still have snow on the ground–here in the Midwest. I have about 10 small jars leftover from a great deal on salsa last year. I’ve been using them for homemade dressings and such- can’t wait to try this out in the spring. I drill a few holes in old seltzer water bottles. I place them in the soil next to the plant. It’s a great way to do a water “drip” on a budget.

  6. Amazing! After you mentioned this in another post, I went ahead and started saving glass jars I normally would have chucked. We’ve been having very warm weather here in Bishop, CA (not too far from you!)so I’m excited to give these a whirl.

  7. We moved to a colder climate where you are lucky to get your tomatoes in August. I’m used to getting tomatoes by the 4th of July. I wonder if I could use quart jars instead of walls o water to get my tomatoes out early, or if this would offer enough protection at night. The water in the tubes gives off residual heat, and the glass won’t do that.

  8. We had a late frost a few years ago. I put glass jars out over my squash plants. They made it through the freeze just fine. They are full of humidity day and night. My plants are watered by drip line, so I don’t have to take the jars off to water them. I plan on covering my tomato plants with jars this year, and I’ll be setting them out this month, so you can see if they make much difference for me.

  9. I’ll be anxious to see how it goes for you. I won’t even be starting my early seedling until March 1. We usually plant mid to late May here, and I’m going to try planting mid April (which is when we planted normally in our former state of residence). So thanks for being the guinea pig.

  10. Our last frost date is usually in May, also, but for the last two winters I have grown lettuce under glass cloches in the garden. I use the glass domes from cheese plates & cake plates, bought at thrift stores & yard sales. Last year I planted Black Seeded Simpson & Buttercrunch in October, just before a hard frost. The black seeded Simpson died over the winter, but the Buttercrunch grew to a size in between the two in Brandy’s pictures, then “held at that size over November, December & January, & began to grow again in February (we had a mild winter). By March we were eating lettuce salads every other day (2 people), from 3 of the smaller cloches & 1 larger one. This year I planted Marvel of 4 Seasons lettuce instead. We had fresh salad for Thanksgiving, then the snow buried the domes. They have remained covered in snow, except for the glass handles, for 2 1/2 months now, & finally melted off enough this morning for me to see inside. There are 6-7 lettuce plants the size of the larger ones in Brandy’s photos, under 4 small domes & the 1 larger one. We have had 2 weeks solid of sub-zero temps this winter, plus a day or two here & there. 4 Seasons lettuce is supposed to be a “winter lettuce”, but the plants that were not under glass did not survive. Even last year, the “winter lettuce” tasted much better than during the regular season – it is sweet & tender. And it is supposed to snow again today.

  11. Thanks for showing the difference in the picture. I tried searching for your email but I was wondering if you could write a post about how you handle raising your children plus all the things you do at the same time. I just had my baby in dec and I’m feeling strapped down and doing something as simple as laundry seems like a challenge. I’d also like to have more children but I’m left with can I do all the house chores too? Hope you can give me some encouragement. Thanks.

  12. If you clicked on my about tab above, my email address is there. It’s brandy (at) the prudent homemaker (dot) com.You have a new baby. It’s ALWAYS hard with a new baby. Most women consider getting a shower an accomplishment when you have a newborn.I had trouble getting much done when I had one, too. I get a whole lot more done now that I have more children. Once a child is years old, it becomes much easier, because you don’t have to do everything for the child.It takes me about 15 months after each child until I feel like I am starting to get things done 🙂 Most of my children are 18-19 months apart, though, so I only get a few months reprieve 🙂 Still, it DOES get easier. It’s hard now, and that’s normal. Enjoy holding your baby. When you baby is napping, put some soup on and start some bread rising, or cook some beans and rice. Make extra so that you’ll have enough to grab for a quick lunch later. Use the moments when the baby is asleep to throw in a load of laundry and start something cooking. You can do this!

  13. How do you avoid your seedlings getting “fried”? I’m in a much cooler place (northern MN) and we’ve had that happen, so it got me wondering how you avoid that when you’re in a more heat intense location.

  14. Last spring I put my seedlings out in the sun to get more light. They were in a seed starter tray with the clear plastic lid. I was horrified when I realized that I had cooked baby sprouts later that day. So I too would like to know how you keep the seedlings from cooking. Maybe because glass is more insulating that plastic?

  15. I leave my glass cloches in place 24/7 during the winter, unless I am picking. The snow melt around the cloches is usually sufficient to water the ground. By spring, I have to remove the cloches during the warmer part of the day, or as some of you have experienced, the seedlings fry. I generally remove the cloches as soon as the temps are not freezing. In the spring, I use them over tender plants, at night, or during a cold spell. I do have more wiggle room with a cloche directly on cold garden soil, than one would have with a seed started tray, since the soil in the tray would heat up a lot faster than the earth does, & since the semi frozen/frozen ground around the cloches can absorb/mitigate quite a bit of the heat.

  16. I agree with Marivene; the seed trays tend to fry much easier (in a day, sometimes!)In the ground, I just watch and make sure they don’t get too hot. I have left mine for a month (through March, sometimes). I watch the weather and pull them if it gets too hot. If it’s still cool at night you can put them back on just at night and remove them in the morning if need be.

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