Answer: Cloches are used to help insulate/protect young or tender plants on cold nights and in rough or windy weather during the spring or fall. It is removed or propped open during the day to prevent excessive solar heat gain. Late in the day it is set over the plant and soil can be pushed up against the edge to make an air tight seal for the night. When to use a cloche would depend on what you are planting. As a general guide you could consider it the equivalent of an unheated coldframe. You might use it to cover early planted tomatoes for instance, if a frost threatens. Or you could use it to force some early greens. Or you could use it to protect small transplants from a hail storm. You could experiment and see what it works best for in your own garden.
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