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Thread: Need Winterizing Help!

  1. #17
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Snow is a sturdy insulator, but it has to already be frozen to work. A layer of loose mulch with lots of little air pockets is better, if your goal is to keep temps above freezing to begin with. If you have enough mulch to curb conduction, and a decent surface area to your tarp, convection could win out, at least enough to keep the temperature above a deep freeze.
    The way water works, once temps hit freezing, they stay precisely at freezing until the surrounding air gets substantially colder. I don't know what it's called... I want to say thermal plasticity but I'm almost certain that's wrong. But anyways, there's energy released by water settling down into ice, that doesn't actually contribute to the physical temperature; as water solidifies, the temperature stops changing while this energy is released. So, if you can steadily add even a small amount of warmth to your system, the ice and snow should help to buffer against extreme/rapid changes in temperature.
    As for a cold frame or shelter, it all depends on the size and shape. By balancing a large solar surface and total volume with minimal heatsinks, you should be able to offset all but the harshest temperatures. I think it's at my mom's house, but I have a winter/high altitude survival guide that I'm pretty sure has a solar still in it, which means that you can even get water to evaporate with proper design. (They certainly aren't boiling the water, probably relying on the low moisture content of freezing air to do most of the heavy lifting, but still.) I suspect that an easy, reliable design might be bigger than some of us would find practical, but I'm rereading my old diff. eq. books now so maybe I'll try to make a model and see where the sweet spot is.
    ~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. #18
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Joe,
    keep us posted on what you find out!

    if your goal is to keep temps above freezing to begin with.
    thats really the crux of the problem right there..
    in this climate, I dont believe it is actually possible to keep plants in the ground above freezing..
    it cant be done without an artificial heat source..and the sun does not provide enough heat.

    When solid packed dirt freezes to 4 to 8 feet deep, 3 feet of mulch isnt going to protect the plants from freezing..

    I dont think you *can* actually keep the plants from freezing in zones 6 and below..
    and once they freeze, they can stay frozen for months..thats really why it doesnt work..

    so its not a matter of keeping the plants above freezing..that cant be done..
    the question is..how much cold, and for how long, can the plants tolerate?
    Some people have success with outdoor bogs because maybe their winters arent quite as harsh.
    maybe they live near a large lake or the ocean, making slightly milder conditions..
    maybe they have lots of winter sun..maybe they have very cold tolerant plants..

    I would love to hear if ANY one has ever overwintered VFTs or southern Sarrs outdoors all winter in North Dakota! I honestly dont think it can be done everywhere..sometimes (quite often IMO) its simply outside the tolerance range of the plants..

    Scot

  3. #19
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Well, you can still strive for it, even if it is difficult to obtain 100% of the time. You yourself say that the biggest problem is that plants stay frozen solid for three to four months. So, if that could be reduced to a few extended freezes of a couple weeks' duration, and otherwise just hover at near-freezing, that would be a substantial improvement, don't you think?
    I don't agree that it can't be done; at the very least you should be able to shave several weeks off the beginning and end of the hard freezes, which is bound to make some sort of difference in survival rates. Again, this will make an interesting math project, but I would be willing to bet (if I weren't destitute and trying not to default on my student loans at the moment, LOL) even without crunching the numbers that you could bump up your effective USDA zone by at least one half-point (likely more) with the right provisions.
    Have you ever done any reading on permaculture? It's a very popular course of study at my school, and I've been amazed at the things my friends manage to grow in their weird overstuffed gardens. If some spaced out hippies can grow subtropical shrubs year round in a cold-temperate environment, then I'm pretty sure temperate CPs can be coaxed through a subarctic winter. Of course it won't be as good as a heated greenhouse or what have you, but I don't think that's a good reason to give up on it entirely.
    ~Joe
    Last edited by seedjar; 11-14-2010 at 02:01 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. #20

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    there is a book i thumbed through recently, and still have it laying around somewhere. can't remember the name off-hand, but it was entitled something like "winter growing". it had nothing to do with CP's, but it was applicable. if i remember correctly, he was in Maine, and was growing cold-hardy vegetables over the winter, spinach and I don't remember what else. his basic set up was a cold-frame, within another cold-frame. he said that alone moves you 400 miles south. there are other amendments you can add beyond that, such as digging it deeper than surface level, as well as adding things such as large, dark rocks, or even a dark container of water, to add as a heat sink during the day/source at night. i think i will try this next winter with a few of my plants - i'm not prepared to do it this winter.

    being in WI, winter always makes me nervous. i'm in zone 4 and have been here since 2004. i have always kept my mature plants in our garage over the winter. it is attached, but unheated and uninsulated (not counting the attached side). i had a thermometer in there a couple of winters ago (not sure what happened to it since then), but the coldest I saw it get in there was around 15F, and this was during a cold snap. i don't remember the outdoor temp, but it was likely around -20F. during "average" winter temps, it stayed in the 20's. and this would be from approx. early Dec. to mid-March. i always keep the mature plants outside until either the lows start dropping below 20, or the highs stay below 32, which is typically around thanksgiving. they remain in there until the lows start staying above the upper 20's, which usually is mid-april. to keep them damp over winter, i shovel snow on them periodically, but usually only a few times/winter. i've never used fungicide, but usually get some spider-web looking stuff that starts showing once it starts warming up in the spring, but it disappears upon moving them back outside and doesn't seem to be lethal, at least in the few weeks it is visibly present. i certainly have not had 100% success doing this, but it has been largely effective. there were 2 winters - '07 and '08 - that I did suffer some decent losses, but only those 2 winters. not sure what the cause was, but I think for my situation, the key is to keep them in large minibogs, rather than individual pots. i've never looked, but I think these minibogs may not freeze solid, even after 3 months of sub-freezing garage temps. most of my losses were to plants in individual pots. i can think of 1 plant that i've lost in the minibogs, there may be more. however, i also still have plants that have been in the same pot since i moved here in '04. therefore, it seems to me that age of plant probably plays a role as well. i know my situation is not ideal, but i just don't have the funds to do any major alterations. i would like to completely insulate the garage, and perhaps putting in some large shop-type lights, just to add a little heat energy in there. that and trying out a small cold-frame-within-a-cold-frame are on my list for next year. my daughter will finally be out of daycare, so that's an extra $125/week to play with right there! my wife teaches botany here and runs the greenhouse, so I 'borrow' space every winter for my seedlings and other young plants, otherwise, i don't know what i'd do with them. i probably wouldn't be starting anything from seed.

  5. #21
    SGcvn69's Avatar
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    I buried a 3" pot of wild blackberry a friend of mine sent me last year. Being that it was only 3" it wasn't that deep in the ground, but luckily we had that gigantic snow storm last year and I think that is what insulated it and it survived!


    Quote Originally Posted by scottychaos View Post

    I dont think you *can* actually keep the plants from freezing in zones 6 and below..
    and once they freeze, they can stay frozen for months..thats really why it doesnt work..

    Scot

  6. #22
    Sarracenia Collector Adam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SGcvn69 View Post
    I buried a 3" pot of wild blackberry a friend of mine sent me last year. Being that it was only 3" it wasn't that deep in the ground, but luckily we had that gigantic snow storm last year and I think that is what insulated it and it survived!
    Oh yes, that snowstorm. I remember going outside in barefeet to get my purp pot from my porch(it was buried in snow, the only pot I left out) and I ran inside screaming cause my feet were frozen solid.
    I'll show you what I do with the pots next time you're over. Last year I mulched the bog though, and all I lost was an already weak Lueco
    Growlist: http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...row-Trade-List
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizasaur
    Minor x Purp I actually have. Well,technically it's Minor Okee x Psitt Green.

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