recycled glass garden cloches : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Just spent a rainy yesterday out in the barn, experimenting with my new jar/bottle cutter. I got this device to make containers for candles- thought it would be cool to recycle some jars, etc. Once I had it though, I naturally began to look for other uses for it. Happened to scavange some really nice 1-gallon and 3-liter green glass wine jugs w/lids (ok, I pulled them out of other people's recycling bins over the holidays!). I cut the bottoms off and the jars make wonderful cloches for the garden. In the past I have used plastic milk jugs or soda bottles, but they have to be weighted or staked down. The glass "cloches" are quite heavy and do not need any additional support. The bottoms aren't wasted, either- after sanding the edges they make great feed/water dishes for the animals. easy to clean and sanitize. And, I think they are deep enough to use for planting bulbs. I plant a lot of paperwhites for the holidays and always run out of containers- I think these will look nice. Hmmm... wonder where I can find a few dozen more?

-- Elizabeth (, February 04, 2001


What a great idea! Where did you get your glass cutter thing? I gotta' have one!

-- Wingnut (, February 04, 2001.

I want to know about the glass cutter too. And how to do it. I have been wanting one for a long time.

-- R. (, February 04, 2001.

That is cool! Wouldn't it be great to find those old big glass jugs that came on the water cooler!! Years and years ago I had one full of pennies. Now all the jugs are plastic. But I would still like to have some plastic ones.

Look in the back of restaurants and such for your bottles.

-- Cindy in Ky (, February 04, 2001.

You guys aren't going to believe this- I got mine on ebay. The seller had them listed all the time, and I waited until I could bid on one for a pretty reasonable price (these are new, in the box cutters). Well, I just looked to see how it was listed, so I could answer Wingnut's query, and the guy has his LAST one listed- so far the high bid is $39.00! I don't recall how much I paid, but it was a lot less- maybe $19 or so. If some of you are seriously interested, I'd be willing to email the guy and see if we could make a group purchase, hopefully at a discount.

-- Elizabeth (, February 04, 2001.

hmmmmm...guess I'll start keeping my nice green wine bottles inside from now on...this could become a trend! LOL

-- Lesley (, February 04, 2001.

Seems the answer to this is obvious- drink more wine, folks!

-- Elizabeth (, February 04, 2001.

You know those cheese cutting/serving boards that are frequently given as wedding gifts? With the glass dome-thing to keep the cheese fresh? I see them at garage sales all the time for about a quarter! The dome thing works well as a cloche, although the glass isn't super heavy or thick. You just have to be a little bit careful not to break it.

-- Shannon at Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary (, February 05, 2001.

OK, my fever-addled brain has been obsessing about finding a bottle cutter since I read this post. Check out: (shoot! is there an "s" at the end of discount? possibly...) Go to 'glass etching supplies'. Elizabeth, if you have a sec, could you look at the picture on the site and tell us what you think of that item? I just wonder if it's big enough to cut full-size wine bottles. Hubby left the credit card on the desk....yee-hah! :)

-- Shannon at Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary (, February 05, 2001.

Cool! I gotta' go check it out. I talked to a friend of mine in the glass business and he said he knows where to get a glass cutter that'll cut bottles. He was in a hurry, but said he'd get back to me on where to get it. If it's cheaper, I'll let y'all know.

Cindy, go here for the big glass water jugs. Click on "Catalogs" at the top, then "Reikes", then "water bottles." They've got three sizes ~ 6.5 gallon, 2.8 gallon and another that looks just like the old-fashioned 5 gallon. There aren't any prices on the site, but I got a catalog in the mail from them last year (which I can't find now!) and I think I remember them being about $10 or so each for the bigger ones. Kind of pricey when you think that for tomatoes, I'll need 100 or more, but it's cheaper than I've seen them at garage sales! Maybe I'll just get 4 or 5 for a few really early tomatoes.

-- Wingnut (, February 05, 2001.

Shannon- I had a look at the cutter you mentioned. It's hard to tell from the pic so don't hold me to this, but it looks similar to others I have seen which were spec'd to cut bottles up to 1-gallon size. Another note- the one I bought came with instructions but did not say how large a bottle it would cut. I managed to cut a 3-liter bottle, but today when I looked at the ebay ad again I noticed that it specified up to one gallon size-go figure. Also, beware, it is really easy to break bottles while cutting. I know- I did. So, get some extras for practice.

-- Elizabeth (, February 05, 2001.

I've been looking at this thread and wondering if you are using oil cutters, or those cheap little all-metal ones with a knob at the end (the theory being that you whack the glass on the score and it cracks through. In reality, those always just broke for me!)? I've got one of the pistol-grip oil cutters, which I got at a stained glass shop for about $17-18. You'd probably have to have a steady hand to circumscribe a wine bottle with it tho. I had a kit for cutting bottles like this years ago and just couldn't make the consarn thing work. Hopefully, they've improved them.

If you are going to spend $10 on glass cloche for one plant, would it not be more cost effective to just BUY Wall o' Water teepees and use those? Last time I bought any, they were 3 for $10, easily patched, and when you drained the water out at the end of the year, you just folded them up and stored them. Hope I didn't throw cold water on anyone's ideas, just thought that I would mention it.

-- Julie Froelich (, February 05, 2001.

Julie- the device I am using consists of a "cradle" , which is basically 2 aluminum pieces attached to a wooden base. There are rollers attached to each of the aluminum pieces, and there is a cutting wheel attached to one end. As the bottle is turned on the rollers, the wheel scores the glass. After a line has been scored a long tapping rod is used to tap the glass just below the score from the INSIDE of the bottle, causing the glass to (hopefully) seperate. There is a definite learning curve, and a degree of failure is inevitable, but they say practice improves the rate of attrition. Guess I need more practice! About those WoW's- from your description they sound pretty practical. But part of my own motivation in using the wine bottles is to reuse something that would otherwise be considered waste. True, my bottles were already headed for the recycling plant when I plucked them from the bins for my own selfish means, but using them in the garden will add years to their useful life, reducing the need for some other (plastic) product to be manufactured, used awhile, and ultimately discarded. ohhhh. don't let me get on my conservation soap box....... or, maybe I'm just cheap!

-- Elizabeth (, February 05, 2001.

Good point Elizabeth about recycling...I just never have any extra gallon bottles -- they're always full of wine experiments! :-D If I ever get extras, they will probably be full of vinegar experiments!!

-- Julie Froelich (, February 06, 2001.

Nope, Julie, you didn't get my idea wet! LOL! I'm not a fan of those wall-o-waters. My neighbor tried them and I paid close attention as I was thinking of getting some. Her experiences told us that the ones that didn't collapse (I'm sure her chickens had something to do with that) didn't really keep the temps much higher than the ambient temp outside. Her plants grew so fast (She's got green thumbs all the way up to her elbows) that they outgrew the WOWs in no time and the tips of her tomatoes that stuck out the top (maybe she should've gotten taller ones? Do they make taller ones?) got bit by a late frost. BUT I'm glad to hear that they work for you!

I've been covering the whole shebang with plastic sheeting, but it's such a pain! I was thinking of building some wood and glass window cold frames. Anybody else have ideas on other types of season- extenders?

-- Wingnut (, February 06, 2001.

Wingnut - (by the way, I do like your name!) - I am a bit perplexed about the comments on WoW. Mine too outgrew them before the cold weather had really passed, they went great guns. None of mine collapsed, even tho we had some pretty windy days (mulch all over the yard), but then I don't have chickens, so perhaps it was the fowl. What perplexed me was about the difference in temperature not being much. I was out carefully checking up on mine and making sure they had enough water, etc., and stuck my hand down inside the teepee and it was toasty warm and quite lovely inside, and it was an overcast day. Of course, this was at the point when I hadn't filled the tubes entirely, so that the top was pleated together still, and you kept the heat in. Later, as they got bigger, I filled them all the way up to open the top and let the plant out as well as to harden it and the temperature difference wasn't so noticeable,but I felt that it was still offering protection against spring frosts we're prone to.

My garden is located out back along an access road that people use for biking, walking the dogs, and such, so all the gardeners have been making a point of watching what I'm doing and about a dozen stopped to ask about the Wow's. They were all amazed when I took them off finally at how far along my plants were compared to their own. I like them, so I guess it's whatever works for you. I do wish they'd make them taller tho.

I am planning this year to make permanent (or semipermanent) hoops over all the beds to support floating row covers. People also laughed like crazy when they saw my FRC's and asked if I thought we were still going to get frost, so I had to explain what they were. Eventually, the things were straining at their seams, so to speak, and I had to take them off, despite the boost that they were giving the plants too, and keeping bugs off. People couldn't believe that either when they saw the plants -- it looked like Jurassic Park. In fact, I had just finally worked my way down an overgrown path to mid- length when some neighbors went by and were talking about my garden. I stuck my head up out of the foliage and said "Hi!" and they were startled. Only my head was showing, sort of like a weird gopher, the plants had gotten so enormous. This year, I'm putting up 6' tall hoops, and getting extra-wide Remay to cover them. It's not as pretty as an open bed, but the results were amazing. It only offers a few degrees extra protection for plants,but it might also be a way to support plastic over it at the end of the season as a polytunnel to give you extra weeks to get your harvest.

-- Julie Froelich (, February 06, 2001.

Elizabeth, I've had a glass cutter for years but have never used it on large bottles. I have used glass bottles for cloches, but it was before I owned the cutter. I cooled the bottles in the freeser, dipped a string in kerosene, and tied it in a tight loop around the chilled bottle, then I lit it on fire. Bottlom came off like nothin. read it in some do it for little guide. I'd question using green glass for cloches though. It might absorb the spectrum of light that the plants most need. I used clear cider jugs.

-- roberto pokachinni (, December 28, 2001.

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