Making a Cloche with Coat Hangers

Idea sent in by G. Brown (Scotland) - April 2011

How to making your own plant cloches:

This is an idea I had a few weeks ago when a sharp frost was forecast and I did not have any suitable cloches available to protect some young seedling in the vegetable patch. I found some wire coat hangers in a pile of household waste that was due to be put in the recycle bin, so I decided that I could make better use of them by recycling them myself.

The wire used in coat hangers is reasonably stiff but still soft enough to be bent into shape by hand. The amount of wire is also just long enough to make a good sized cloche.

  1. To make your cloche you will need two or more standard size wire coat hangers, a reel of garden twine and a sheet of fleece or other suitable cover.
  2. Wearing a pair of garden gloves to protect your hands, bend the main loop of wire so that it forms a semi-circle shape with a straight edge at the base, as shown on the right. Then straighten the hook end of the hanger to form a single prong of wire. This prong will be used to anchor the cloche in the ground. Reshape all the hangers you are going to use, to form a series of wire loops.

  3. Push the prong ends of each of the bent hangers into the ground, at about 1 foot spacings, as shown here. So that the wire loops form a frame over which you can tie the fleece or polythene sheeting.
  4. Attach a length of garden twine (about 6 in longer than the diameter of the wire loop) to base of each of the wire loops.

  5. Place the fleece (or other suitable covering) over the frame and secure the ends by tying them around a short stick or cane, buried in the ground and each end.
  6. Once the cover is in place, tie the garden twine, from each loop, over the top of the cover to secure it in place. This will also allow the sides of the cloche to be gathered up to allow air to circulate through it on warm days.

I have only used three hangers in the example above but you can make your cloche as long as you need by adding more hangers, as required. If you don't have any wire coat hangers to hand then you can use any form of stiff wire so long as it is either galvanised, painted or coated so that it won't rust.

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