Five ways to protect plants and get them in the ground early

Usually I figure that April first is the earliest date that I would even THINK about planting the summer crops, but… this year I decided to walk on the wild side and plant mid March. It seemed like winter was going to be kind and peter out early, so why not take advantage of the sunshine?

Of course, as these things go – that’s when the night time temperatures started dropping back into the thirties and I could imagine all those tender little leaves turning black and dropping off.

I hate having to do anymore work than I absolutely have to – but I couldn’t stand to lose all those plants.  I was going to have to protect those tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, eggplant and and basil. I didn’t want to spend money on the process – I am chintzy on top of being lazy (though ideally, I’d love to have some beautiful french glass cloches, but that’s NOT in my budget).

Instead I went burrowing into my plastics bin and decided to reuse some freezer jars that don’t keep their lids on very well at all. I also got some drink cups from Starbucks (recycled).
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I had some garden staples that I heated on the burner, then pushed through the plastic cups.
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These made ideal little greenhouses and with the staples pushed deep into the soil, the cups stayed put even through the windy weather.
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I also used some wire baskets that I swathed in plastic wrap for some of the bigger plants. That feels a little wasteful as I can’t re-use the wrap, but…better than losing the romas.
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And a few lamp shades that are likely the closest things to glass cloches that I’ll ever end up with.  I’ve got my basil under this one.
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Lastly, the old standby- the milk jug.

I really like the way these work for the eggplants. I pounded a stake into the dirt that the plant will eventually be tied to as it grows taller. This stake poked up through the slits I cut into the top of the jug and holds it in place, either over the plant, or allows the jug to be raised to let the sun in as the weather allows.
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As an additional perk, all these little greenhouses are snail resistant (unfortunately not snail safe).  They are working fine.  The zucchini are already raising their roofs.

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3 Responses to Five ways to protect plants and get them in the ground early

  1. Charlotte says:

    Brilliant (and cheap!) ideas! I’m glad to see the website active again.

  2. Madgew says:

    Love the idea of recycling and using all these items for good.

  3. Jesse Loren says:

    I love how resourceful you are. Smart cookie!

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