Haxnicks Micromesh Lantern Cloche
—A Product Review—

Dateline: 14 August 2016

The picture above shows four kale plants that I started under a PVC hoop cloche. The Agribon 19 row cover I had over the cloche kept flea beetles and cabbage worms from getting to the leaves. If I did not cover the kale plants they would have looked like this...

Those sorry-looking kale plants were growing only a few feet away from the lush ones in the prior picture.

So I harvested the leaves off the good kale and dried them for nutritional green powder to use in the winter. Here's a picture of the dried greens going into a canning jar...

After harvesting the leaves, I needed to recover the four plants so they would make more nutrition-rich leaves. The hoop cloche was getting too low for the tall plants, so I decided to buy a Haxnicks Micromesh Lantern Cloche to see how good of a product it is.

Here's a picture of the kale plants after harvesting the leaves and putting the lantern cloche in place...

Two weeks to the day later, here's what the kale looked like in the Haxnicks lantern cloche...

And here's what the kale looked like with the cloche removed...

There were enough leaves there to fill the dehydrator again.

My Excalibur dehydrator has ten trays, but I only use three when drying kale. That's because I really heap it up. A big pile of kale greens crammed into the dehydrator will dry right down like you can see in the third picture above.

Of course, I thoroughly wash the leaves in My Outdoor Sink. And I use a knife to slice out the center stem of each leaf.

I was surprised to see some cabbage worm frass on a few stems. How the cabbage worm butterfly got in there to lay its eggs (and got out afterwards) is something of a mystery. Fortunately, the damage was very minimal and I washed the leaves carefully to make sure I got all the worms (I found three). Here is a picture on one of the little monsters...

After harvesting the kale leaves, I cultivated the soil a bit. Here's a picture of the harvested kale plants before I put the lantern cloche back in place...

I'd like to point out that the stems where the leaves were cut will eventually die back and fall off. In this next picture you can see this more clearly. I have just pulled off a stem from the first cutting. It pretty much fell off. Notice the nice neat scars where the stems from the first cutting were...

So the lantern cloche is back in place. The kale plants are safe again. Here's what it looks like now...

The Haxnicks lantern cloche I used is 30" x 30" and 26" high. It's the standard size. I paid $25.75 on Amazon for it. 

The cloche is all assembled in the box. You just take it out and twist the four corner support wires (they all attach at the top) so they pivot out and the cloche opens up. 

Unfortunately, figuring out how they turn and open it up was a bit of a challenge for me. I think it might have taken me 10 minutes to get it. Maybe only 8. I probably shouldn't admit that. But when I finally got it right, the thing opened up nicely.

There are loops on each corner of the cloche at the bottom. I use some metal pegs through the loops to hold the structure in place. The sides at the bottom don't rest on the ground as nice as I would like to see. They lift up a little at midspan. But it isn't a big problem.

Thus far, I'm pleased with this unique cloche. The micro mesh lets in light and rain, but it's small enough that the flea beetles can't get through. It looks like a piece of garden equipment that should last for several years. How long it actually lasts remains to be seen. 

I'm thinking about how to make my own tall cloches and cover them with a screen material. I need these for cabbages, broccoli, and kale, which are prime targets for flea beetles and the butterfly worms. It's either cover the plants, or use an insecticide, and I'm not an insecticide gardener.


  1. "Unfortunately, figuring out how they turn and open it up was a bit of a challenge for me. I think it might have taken me 10 minutes to get it. Maybe only 8. I probably shouldn't admit that. But when I finally got it right, the thing opened up nicely."

    Mr Kimball, that's the 10% rule. You have to be 10% smarter than whatever you are endeavoring (not sure if that is grammatically correct). Especially machines/electronics. For me, some days are better than others!
    Your friend,

    1. That's interesting. I never heard of the 10% rule before. I've heard of the 80/20 rule (a.k.a., Parreto's Law), which is pretty insightful.

      So, I just looked up 10% rule and found myself at Amazon looking at the book, "The 10x Rule," by Grant Cardon. Here's what it says...

      "While most people operate with only three degrees of action—no action, retreat, or normal action—if you're after big goals, you don't want to settle for the ordinary. To reach the next level, you must understand the coveted 4th degree of action. This 4th degree, also know as the 10 X Rule, is that level of action that guarantees companies and individuals realize their goals and dreams."

      That has nothing to do with what you're talking about, but it does look interesting.

      I like rabbit trails. :-)

  2. I'm still very new to gardening, so please forgive me for what may be a silly question. Can you use black plastic mulch (like what you use for growing carrots) in combination with a cloche? My family loves carrots, onions, and beets from the garden. Unfortunately, so do the resident rabbits and other critters. I'm thinking that using a cloche over these plants next spring may help alleviate some of the problem. We have been using the black plastic mulch, but I didn't know if using a cloche would raise the temperature too much.


    1. Hi Diane,

      Yes, you can use black plastic mulch with a cloche. But temperature inside a cloche is definitely an issue. If it gets too hot, the plants will suffer. The Agribon fabrics I've been using for my cloches create a sheltered and warmer environment for the plants inside. This is most desirable in the spring when it's colder outdoors. As the weather warms the heat can damage some plants. I've had this happen. Black plastic inside a cloche would add to the heat build up, unless the plastic is covered with a natural mulch, or if there was enough leaf canopy to cover the plastic.

      The micro mesh, or some other net-porous cover pretty much reduces heat build up. Air and rain can get through too, which is not so much the case with the Agribon material.

      I should point out that using black plastic in my garden is still an experimental thing for me. I'm persuaded that it has useful applications, but I'm still evaluating those applications. I have carrots in black plastic this year but I also am growing them in other smaller beds in my garden without black plastic, and am mulching around them with lawn clippings.

      Some sort of a year-round cloche is the best approach to keeping rabbits and insect pests off any growing plants. That much I'm sure of. Thanks for the question.

  3. Herrick- how did the $25.75 (plus shipping) compare with the cloche type item you make in your Whizbang Idea Book for Gardeners?

    1. Elizabeth—
      The hoop cloche in my book is much more economical, and it works very well. But it's not tall enough to accommodate some plantings. like the kale and broccoli, which I am having trouble with this year because of the flea beetles and cabbage worms. I could spray but would rather not got hat route. So a taller cloche is what I need, but with some sort of screen as opposed tot he Agribon row cover, which warms the interior, and blocks rain and air movement. Those things are desirable in the spring but not later in the season.

      I'm currently evaluating three kinds of insect netting, and Marlene is going to help me with making some prototype screen cloches, sort of like the Haxnicks one I've evaluated here, but less costly. I'll post information on our progress here.

    2. Oh good. I can't wait to hear the progress! On another note- I was given about 20 onion sets that were not planted this spring by the gifter. She thought I might have use of them. The bulbs are about the size of a quarter. So based on your onion research last year, what do you recommend I do with them?

    3. Northern California is like another country to me when it comes to gardening. Do you have a winter like we have here in NY (with lots of snow and bitter cold)? Can you garden year round? I'm not sure when you should plant them. It seems late in the year.

  4. We live in NW Montana. Lots of snow and sub-freezing conditions for more than 5 months of the year. I think it's pretty similar to upstate New York. I'm asking about the onions because of your research last year in trying to overwinter your onion sets.

    1. Oh. I am getting you confused with the other Elizabeth who frequently comments. I'll have to pay closer attention. :-)

      Yes, I think you have garden conditions similar to me. Wait till spring.

      Best wishes.

  5. Elizabeth L. Johnson said,
    Thanks for all the experimenting and research you do, especially for a possible home-made cloche. I will need that for my new lettuce, beet tops, and carrot tops that are being eaten by birds; maybe next year.

  6. Elizabeth L. Johnson further says,
    Hm. I wonder why there is a blog symbol above, next to my husband's name and mine. I signed in with google acct. Strange. We do not blog.