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Thread: Need Winterizing Help!

  1. #9
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Keeping them slightly above freezing like Scot mentions is ideal. If you can't, though, at least make sure to shelter them from the wind, and keep the pots in a little water. Not too deep - you don't want rot cropping up - but cold air is very dry so dehydration can happen surprisingly fast.
    If you can't prevent them from freezing, try to at least keep them frozen once they do freeze. Repeated freezing and thawing is far more stressful than a few weeks of a cold spell. Mulching, covering your plants with a tarp, and using large, deep pots that fit closely together and don't allow drafts to blow between them are also helpful.
    Jonny - the shortening day length and cooler average temperatures should be enough to clue your plants in to the season. VFTs will close slowly, partially, or not at all in response to stimuli once they enter dormancy. Temperate sundews will (typically) die back to waxy hibernacula. Sarracenia may produce phyllodia as dormancy approaches (this behavior is mostly limited to the taller species and related hybrids,) and then slow or halt growth entirely. Look at the crown of the plant - if it's making little stubby pitchers that don't mature, like the spikes Unstuck described, it's dormant. If your plants have been outside for the past few months, it's highly unlikely that they haven't entered dormancy.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

  2. #10
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seedjar View Post
    If you can't prevent them from freezing, try to at least keep them frozen once they do freeze. Repeated freezing and thawing is far more stressful than a few weeks of a cold spell. Mulching, covering your plants with a tarp, and using large, deep pots that fit closely together and don't allow drafts to blow between them are also helpful.
    The reason why mulching seldom works around here is because its not "a few weeks"..
    The "cold spell" below freezing could last 3 months!
    basically all of December, January and February could be easily spent frozen solid for plants mulched outdoors..its too much, they usually die.

    yes, the plants do freeze in their native habitat..but in South Carolina a cold snap below freezing is measured in days..maybe a week..but never 3 months..

    Scot

  3. #11
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    We go back and forth about this every year Scot, so I won't dispute your own experiences. However, I've been told to mulch by substantial number of very experienced growers, some of whom have even harsher conditions than your own. I would take your opinion on mulching with more weight if I'd seen an account of how you mulched when you lost your plants; as it stands the only details I've seen are your how-to threads, and no explanations of how you did things before then. I strongly believe, based on your own testimonials, that you may have overlooked something in your previous mulching attempts; there is no conceptual reason why it shouldn't work.
    Even in the coldest climes of the continental US (excluding high mountains I suppose,) the earth does not freeze below a shallow upper layer of the topsoil. If you go down about four feet, it never strays far from 60F. You should easily be able to keep your plants above freezing if you dig a foot-deep depression and cover it with mulch, a tarp, and a second layer of mulch (or snow for that matter) to hold it in place. Cleverly engineered homes in Alaska manage to store and reuse ambient heat so that virtually no additional heating is required; keeping some lumps of dirt above freezing shouldn't be that difficult.
    I understand you lived in an apartment and had to use a porch, and that makes things different. But you can still use the thermal load of your home to prevent freezing if you're clever about it; a well-sealed tarp/cold frame against a wall (or even better, a low-insulation surface like a sliding glass door) will serve to keep average temperatures above ambient if the exposed surfaces are mulched or otherwise insulated. Bubble wrap works wonders in this application. In any case, simply putting a lump of bark on top of a lone pot on a drafty second-story deck is not really what growers are referring to when they talk about mulching.
    The fridge method is a viable technique - I don't dispute it. But there are other ways. Can we agree to that? All I'm saying is that there are other options, and for some growers, they are easier and more reliable. Your mileage may vary.
    This is nothing against you personally, or your instructions. When I was starting out I read your fridge method threads, and they're very useful; I refer people specifically to your info when they want details on it. But the fact that you report failures with mulching doesn't lead me to believe that you have any definitive knowledge on that technique. If you want to learn how to do something, you go learn from those that can and have done it - not somebody who tells you it doesn't work.
    ~Joe
    Last edited by seedjar; 11-13-2010 at 11:20 AM.
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

  4. #12
    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    This was taken ~August:



    This was right before I shipped everything:



    She produced a few leaves beyond her arrival.

  5. #13
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seedjar View Post
    We go back and forth about this every year Scot, so I won't dispute your own experiences. However, I've been told to mulch by substantial number of very experienced growers, some of whom have even harsher conditions than your own. I would take your opinion on mulching with more weight if I'd seen an account of how you mulched when you lost your plants; as it stands the only details I've seen are your how-to threads, and no explanations of how you did things before then. I strongly believe, based on your own testimonials, that you may have overlooked something in your previous mulching attempts; there is no conceptual reason why it shouldn't work.
    Even in the coldest climes of the continental US (excluding high mountains I suppose,) the earth does not freeze below a shallow upper layer of the topsoil. If you go down about four feet, it never strays far from 60F. You should easily be able to keep your plants above freezing if you dig a foot-deep depression and cover it with mulch, a tarp, and a second layer of mulch (or snow for that matter) to hold it in place. Cleverly engineered homes in Alaska manage to store and reuse ambient heat so that virtually no additional heating is required; keeping some lumps of dirt above freezing shouldn't be that difficult.
    I understand you lived in an apartment and had to use a porch, and that makes things different. But you can still use the thermal load of your home to prevent freezing if you're clever about it; a well-sealed tarp/cold frame against a wall (or even better, a low-insulation surface like a sliding glass door) will serve to keep average temperatures above ambient if the exposed surfaces are mulched or otherwise insulated. Bubble wrap works wonders in this application. In any case, simply putting a lump of bark on top of a lone pot on a drafty second-story deck is not really what growers are referring to when they talk about mulching.
    The fridge method is a viable technique - I don't dispute it. But there are other ways. Can we agree to that? All I'm saying is that there are other options, and for some growers, they are easier and more reliable. Your mileage may vary.
    This is nothing against you personally, or your instructions. When I was starting out I read your fridge method threads, and they're very useful; I refer people specifically to your info when they want details on it. But the fact that you report failures with mulching doesn't lead me to believe that you have any definitive knowledge on that technique. If you want to learn how to do something, you go learn from those that can and have done it - not somebody who tells you it doesn't work.
    ~Joe
    I never said it doesnt work 100% of the time..
    there are many confirmed cases here in "the north" where people have mulched bogs in the ground..it can work, I never said it cant..

    but..

    for newbies, its highly risky..
    and its FAR safer to find a place that is above freezing..

    the earth does not freeze below a shallow upper layer of the topsoil.
    wrong..
    it actually freezes down to 4 feet around here..probably not that deep every winter, but for things like fence posts and such, building codes say you have to go down to 4 feet to avoid frost heave..4 feet isnt exactly shallow!

    (im sure the "code depth" is *maximum* frost depth..most winters it might be only 2 or 3 feet..not four..but still, its defiantly much deepr than a "shallow layer of topsoil"..)

    http://www.charlesandhudson.com/arch...-depth-map.jpg

    http://www.decks.com/images/Articles...-depth-map.jpg

    If you go down about four feet, it never strays far from 60F.
    also wrong..it can be easily below freezing at 4 feet under ground..see links above..
    in the upper Mid-west and Canada, the frost depth can be 100 inches!
    thats EIGHT feet!

    One foot of mulch isnt enough to prevent freezing..
    neither is two feet..or three feet..
    maybe four feet will work..
    (but even it does freeze, the mulch should be heavy enough to prevent freeze-thaw..
    so even if it freezes, it might *stay* frozen..which could be helpful..but again, frozen solid for 3 or 4 months is simply beyond the endurance level of these plants)
    as I have said before, the cold itself isnt the killer..its the duration of the cold.
    there is a big difference between 25 degrees for 2 nights in South Carolina, then warming back into the 40's..
    versus below freezing for 3 months straight..

    mulching can work in zones 6, 5 and lower..its just highly risky..
    I would put the risk of death at about 50/50..
    while a "fridge method" location is about 99% odds of survival..
    most winters I have 100%..

    On my webpage, I wasnt referring to the deck where I used to live..
    I had some sarracenia and VFT's growing in a pond down my parents house (near Elmira NY)
    I put the pots (four pots of sarracenia and two of VFTs) ina tub of peat, buried the tub in a garden..top of the tub was at ground level, about two feet of leaves and pine needles on top..dug them up in late March..frozen solid..put them back in the pond..they never came back..So thats my one experience..maybe they would have lived with a deeper mulch layer?
    maybe..all I know is winters around here are far too brutal for what these plants are used to..
    if you want to try it, I cant say they will definitely die..but the odds are high..

    I think people who dont live in in these climates have a hard time understanding just how cold it is! and for how long...I have gotten into similar discussions with the guys over on the CPUK forum..CP growers in England just have no concept of how cold winters can be..One guy in England was attempting to ridicule my "extreme" suggestions, saying I go way too far, then he said something about "protecting from rain in the winter"..."RAIN??" (I said)
    We dont see rain for 4 months..plenty of moisture falls from the sky however, but its all in the form of frozen water..if you regularly see rain in the winter, you dont know what winter is!

    Scot
    Last edited by scottychaos; 11-13-2010 at 04:56 PM.

  6. #14
    SGcvn69's Avatar
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    Thanks for the links! Love that mini bog! And yes, they have been outside all summer! I will have to stick a thermostat in my coal cellar and see what it registers as.


    Quote Originally Posted by scottychaos View Post
    You need to find a place that stays between 35 and 50 degrees F all winter..
    thats the tricky bit..
    outdoors is too cold, indoors is too warm..

    some suggestions:

    http://gold.mylargescale.com/scottychaos/CP/page2.html

    http://gold.mylargescale.com/scottychaos/CP/page5c.html


    Have they been outside all summer up to now?
    If so, thats half the battle right there! they should be fully dormant right now..now you just have to find a spot for them to rest for the next 4 months..


    Scot

  7. #15
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Frost heave is different than the frost line; you have to have a footer rooted below the frost line to protect against heave if I recall. I don't know the precise details, but if four feet is what code is in your parts, the frost probably only goes gets close to four feet in really catastrophic winters. I'm surprised, though... I thought that four feet was nearing arctic conditions.
    If you just buried your stuff out in a garden, to a foot, when the frost already reaches down a foot, then you're not really getting insulating effects. (Er... geothermal effects?) I think you might've seen much better results with a wider hole, lined with mulch on the sides as well as above to create airspace, and a dark tarp on top to draw in what little solar heat is available. But again, under those circumstances I can see what you mean. It might be worth cluttering up the fridge just to avoid having to dust off the impromptu solar panel each morning.
    Now I feel compelled to find a way to make it work. If you get a kooky looking cold frame in the mail, you'll know who sent it. :P
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

  8. #16
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Joe,
    Im looking forward to trying out that cold frame!

    I would like to try an outdoor bog..I put in a small pond this year..
    Im considering building a CP bog alongside it.
    If I do, I will try outdoor dormancy again..

    Scot

    ---------- Post added at 10:03 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:51 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by seedjar View Post
    a wider hole, lined with mulch on the sides as well as above to create airspace, and a dark tarp on top to draw in what little solar heat is available.
    ~Joe
    Solar heat..thats a conundrum..
    because lets say you have a cold frame, you would want solar heat to warm the inside..
    but also there is often several feet of snow on the ground for much of the winter..
    should you remove the snow from the coldframe, (or from a dark tarp) or leave it?

    Snow is a great insulator..if the air is +5 degrees, you would want a nice snow layer to protect the plants from that cold air..the plants might be at 25 degrees under their blanket of mulch and snow..below freezing yes, but still better than zero to +5 F..or even below zero..

    Or..should you keep the snow off the cold frame? hoping the feeble winter sun might warm the inside of the frame and keep the plants warmer?

    I would say leaving the snow on would be better...the sun cant win against +5 degrees..
    I think it would be MUCH colder for the plants if you constantly removed the snow layer..without that added insulation of snow, the plants will be much colder...sunlight would be pretty much a non-factor for warmth..especially at night..

    At 3am when its +5 degrees..any minor solar heating is long-gone..the inside of the coldframe will also be +5 degrees..but it could be warmer if you have heavy insulation on top.

    So IMO any solar warming benefits of a coldframe (or a hole with a dark tarp on top) simply dont factor in up here..
    (which is the same reason a greenhouse is useless in the winter..
    We often have bright sunny winter days when the air is a balmy zero degrees..the sun has virtually no warming power on those days..)

    So I dont think a coldframe, tarp or greenohuse would even be a benefit at all..the sun just cant warm it up enough inside to be of any use.
    heavy insulation is the key..the plants will have to be buried deep, in pitch-blackness, for 4 months..
    thats the only way it can work..and IMO even that is *highly* risky and far more severe than their native winter conditions..
    I dont see any point in even trying it, if you have a better alternative.

    Scot

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