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Winterizing experiment!

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Winterizing experiment!

Post  staf74 on 11/26/2010, 6:40 pm

Okay, so I thought I'd share some thoughts and pics of my new winterizing project. I've got through some light freezes and one hard frost with just the plastic (regular 4mil from big box store) but seeing as I still have lots growing I'm kinda determined to see how long I can have things last. Pulling a fresh salad and some carrots for the christmas dinner would be ideal. After some research, I was intrigued by the christmas light idea and so bought a few sets of C-9 (larger bulb) lights. The pics show the basic set-up and then with the plastic on top and a dark night sky, the whole thing shines like a beacon. It's really quite bright, I hope the neighbors don't complain ! Kinda felt like Chevvy Chase putting on the power and lighting her up Smile. I have basic thermoms in both wagons for now but will prob buy the remote ones with memory to record the lowest temps so I can gauge if all this is really worth it. Not sure if this idea that economical either. I might cover with some blankets and cycle the lights for perhaps two hour periods on timers to save money. Any thoughts / comments anyone?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/56292096@N03/5209613005/in/set-72157625349061945/
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Re: Winterizing experiment!

Post  jumiclads on 11/26/2010, 7:15 pm

Hi staf74, It will be very interesting to see how far into the winter period you can keep you boxes going. If you can keep it going just so you can harvest this crop would be great. I think it would be a bad idea to keep it going right through (if you could afford the electric) because you need the frost to kill off any bad things in the soil so not to infect your plants next year. Also if you used a double layer of bubble wrap (if you can get it big enough) it may help to insulate and keep the frost out better and make the heat stay in better. A bit like double glazing. On the UK RHS site they recommend using bubble wrap round pots to insulate against frost. I think your idea should work though and I hope it does with you still having that beautiful crop still in the boxes.
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Re: Winterizing experiment!

Post  staf74 on 11/26/2010, 8:30 pm

Jumiclads, I love the bubble wrap idea. Thanks for the tip Very Happy If I went lengthwise around the hoops wrapping both on top and under the hoops, I could create the "double glazing" effect you speak of. I'm sure that would greatly increase my R value especially when throwing the plastic back over it. Would need some long pieces of wrapping though. I'll look around and see what I can find. I really don't want to go much past Christmas but thanks for the tip on sterilizing the soil through some good freezing. Things warm up quite nicely here in SC by March and I could start seeds in a cold frame (or indoors under lights) by early Feb. It might be nice to take January "off" so to speak and prepare planting plans for the spring season. I might even build a couple more beds seeing as my first experience has been so "fruitful." Take care and thanks again santa
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Re: Winterizing experiment!

Post  dstubbs on 11/27/2010, 5:31 am

Thanks for the insight about frost "cleaning the soil". I still hate Canadian winters, but that thought has made me a little less grumpy! Smile
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Re: Winterizing experiment!

Post  staf74 on 11/27/2010, 12:10 pm

So it worked well. We went down to 28 here last night but both wagons held a steady 40 when I went out to check at 6.30 am this morning. Will certainly buy the remote thermoms though. It would have been nice to press a button and see the lowest temps from the warmth of the home. I will try bubble wrap next to increase the R value and get away with perhaps a few hours of lights instead of all night. I might not need them at all actually if I use the sun and trap / retain enough heat. I'll experiment with different setups and report back if that's okay. I'm a newbie and all excited to join, hence my frequent postings thus far..hope ya'll don't mind Very Happy We're looking at 27 tonight for a low.
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Re: Winterizing experiment!

Post  outsideasy on 11/27/2010, 3:42 pm

I for one enjoy your posting and keep posting as your enthusiasm is contagious. When we first got started we had an insect infestation and I was letting everyone know about it and taking everyones suggestions for a cure. We're in California about 88' above sea level inland valley, and the winter is fairly mild, some 28 and 29 nights, 17 once in a while but mostly 30ish temps, we have put pvc hoops up but haven't topped them with plastic yet because everything we have growing is doing well in the cold. I like the lights in the box idea, it should be economical too.
All the Best
Al sunny

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Re: Winterizing experiment!

Post  Esteban on 11/27/2010, 5:06 pm

staf74,
Thanks for the information.
I hope you find time to keep us updated in the future.
Thanks again for sharing,
Steve

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Re: Winterizing experiment!

Post  sceleste54 on 11/27/2010, 5:51 pm

Here's a suggestion.. I have a wallclock that is the "SKYSCAN" brand of atomic clock. It has a remote sensor you can put outside or in another location in your house to get dual temp readings. Got it at Sam's Club a couple of years ago. As long as the sensor is protected from rain you can have temp-at-a-glance!

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Re: Winterizing experiment!

Post  staf74 on 11/27/2010, 10:29 pm

Thanks everyone for the encouragement..... truly a friendly forum indeed! I appreciate the "Skyscan" clock idea Sceleste. I am a Sams club member and will check it out. Regular Wal-Mart has a digital remote temp sensor with a range of up to 100ft for $9 but I don't think it has a high/low memory, a feature i'd really like. After some prelim research, bulk bubble wrap is fairly reasonable online but the weight in shipping costs half the price of the roll itself! Perhaps a local packing store is my best bet. Still, I can get a 24 inch by 300ft roll (smaller bubbles) for less than $50 incl shipping. That's a lot less than the solar pool blankets i've been considering. It seems like a lot of wrapping so I hope my Math is sound here as I think out loud. With four (4x4) beds and a four ft space in between, I went for two longer wagons (pics on an earlier post) so I could comfortably sit under the cover and work if needed. That gives me 12ft in length to cover but remember I'm doubling up both over and under to create the small air space between to get true insulating properties. Let's call that 25ft. With the standard 10ft PVC pipes bent to form the hoops and a bubble wrap width of 24 inches (2ft), I need (25 x 5) or 125ft to cover a single wagon (excluding ends). With some extra to cover both ends of one wagon and doing this for both wagons, I'm going for the 300 foot roll. PHEW ! I think my head just exploded. Does this make sense? or a complete waste of time/resources? I'm wrestling with the thought that its not very Organically minded to use electric lights and a plethora of plastic materials just trying to cheat mother nature out of a few weeks.
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Re: Winterizing experiment!

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