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Thread: Help me save my Gold Strike

  1. #17
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    I second what Dex and some of the others have said. I know Idaho is a little more intense than the coastal NW, but I really think you'd have better luck outside. There are methods for dealing with the cold; mulching, big containers, earthen berms, etc. You should be saving your time and energy for growing kickass ultra-highland Neps with all that cold weather. I know it's hard to do something new and risky with plants that you really like, but I think that you'll be a better grower for it. Try to think of it less as a gamble and more as an adventure.
    The worst that happens is you lose your temperate plants, which seem already to be a source of frustration for you. But if your posts are any indication, you spend a lot of time trying to make those work; think of what you could do with that time if you focused it on stuff that's easy in your climate. I hope you've read swords' various posts on his window-vented terraria. (If you go searching for them, remember that he liquidated his Neps back in 2008(?) and switched gears so a lot of useful information will be in fairly old threads.) I think you should get yourself some crops of N. lowii, rajah, the toothy species and some other finicky highlanders; start selling cuttings to starry-eyed newbs and watch the cash roll in. You won't need to dote over your temperates all year long - you can just replace them every year!
    If you're dead-set on growing North American species, perhaps you could try the inverse of swords' method. Set up a temperate enclosure (like a cold frame) outside your window, leave the window cracked all the time, and run a duct from the window to the enclosure with a gentle fan. Heat loss will make the cold frame much colder than indoors, but room temperatures and household humidity levels will eliminate almost any risk of a hard freeze. (I'd be surprised if you saw frost inside at all, except maybe on the walls of the coldframe itself.) As a bonus, because warm air carries so much more moisture than cold, you'd have super solid protection against dehydration, which is the biggest risk in your type of climate from what I gather. If you wanted to be extra clever, you could place metal or stone condensers above each of your plants to capture excess humidity and use it to automatically drip-irrigate your pots.
    Best of luck - I imagine your struggles could get pretty frustrating. The biggest problem I have around here is the threat of birds stealing my Sphagnum and deer munching on the tops of my Darlingtonia (not as much of a problem now that I'm back in a third-story apartment.)
    ~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
    back2eight's Avatar
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    All that potting and unpotting and putting in unnatual darkness in your refrigerator is not good. Leave them outside! Your temps are not too cold for them. It's not the "cold" that kills them, it is being frozen and not being able to drink, and when the winds are blowing it can accelerate the dehydration, so that is when you should perhaps have them covered to protect from the wind so dehydration will not happen so fast. I've had extremely cold temps here in mississippi, which is unusual, but it doesn't look like I've lost a single plant. I didn't do anything special for them at all, not even when they stayed frozen solid for 2 weeks straight without thawing out during the daytime because it never got above 32 degrees. Plus it has snowed 3 times this year (unheard of!) and they have been buried in the snow without any protection whatsoever at any time this winter. I never covered them, mulched, nothing - and all are still alive.

  3. #19
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by back2eight View Post
    even when they stayed frozen solid for 2 weeks straight without thawing out during the daytime because it never got above 32 degrees. Plus it has snowed 3 times this year (unheard of!) and they have been buried in the snow without any protection whatsoever at any time this winter. I never covered them, mulched, nothing - and all are still alive.
    Haha, frozen solid or covered in snow is actually what you want in adverse weather. That's like automatic tarping/mulching. It's hovering around freezing or freezing with no precipitation that makes things hard. You've got it easy!
    ;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//~

  4. #20
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Resident of Arkansas:
    Quote Originally Posted by Dexenthes View Post
    I'm always hesitant to do the fridge method. It just seems wrong putting any plant in pure darkness for that long.
    Resident of balmy coastal Washington state:
    Quote Originally Posted by seedjar View Post
    I second what Dex and some of the others have said. I know Idaho is a little more intense than the coastal NW, but I really think you'd have better luck outside.
    Resident of Mississippi!!:
    Quote Originally Posted by back2eight View Post
    All that potting and unpotting and putting in unnatual darkness in your refrigerator is not good. Leave them outside! Your temps are not too cold for them.
    yes, the temps are too cold..Mississippi is to Idaho as Florida is to Siberia..not even remotely close..

    you guys just dont seem to understand that those of us who do "the fridge method" dont do it just because we feel like it..we do it because we MUST do it..
    you really, really, really, really, seriously, not kidding, for real, not joking, cant leave VFTs and Sarrs outdoors in zones 6, 5, 4 and colder..

    If you guys lived where we do, you would understand this..

    the reason the fridge method keeps being talking about is because it works..
    its works great..I have been doing it every winter for 17 years now..
    and for many people its the only option..

    the pitch darkess is not a problem..because the plants are at 35 degree F..they are not growing..they are not disturbed, they handle it just fine..

    how often do we have to keep talking about this before those of you living in very warm climates believe us? we have been talking about it on this forum for about 10 years now..some us just really have to do it..outdoors honestly is not an option..

    why is this so hard to understand?

    Scot

  5. #21
    ermahgerd petmantis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottychaos View Post
    you guys just dont seem to understand that those of us who do "the fridge method" dont do it just because we feel like it..we do it because we MUST do it..
    you really, really, really, really, seriously, not kidding, for real, not joking, cant leave VFTs and Sarrs outdoors in zones 6, 5, 4 and colder..
    ....

    I disagree with that, and I have proof to back me up. Look all over the OCPS forums on outdoor bog gardening, countless people keep vfts, sarrs (EVEN S> psittacina and S. purp venosa!) outdoors YEAR ROUND.
    A simple layer of mulch can solve huge issues like that. And consider that winters up here in Ontario and Quebec are long and harsh, lasting around 6 months, that just says how hardy plants are.

    Do a bit of research, Scotty - while in some parts are indeed harsh, it IS possible to leave them outdoors, therefore we don't HAVE to use the ''fridge method''.
    <Heli> How are you guys losing your hamatas?
    <Brokken> Heli: The hamburglar.

  6. #22
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    mcantrell,

    looks to me you experienced two problems with your fridge method technique this year:

    1. waiting too long to put them into the fridge.
    2. maybe taking them out too early..

    leaving them outside into December was a mistake...they were exposed to temps that were too cold..plus you had warming about freezing during the day, then dropping below freezing at night..thats very bad..

    the beauty of the fridge method is that the plants dont ever have to freeze..at all..
    they can stay a nice cool 35 degrees all winter..totally steady, no fluctation at all, for 3 solid months, or longer..its really quite ideal, and much better than outdoors in our cold climate..

    you should leave your plants outdoors into late October or early November..until the night-time lows begin to fall below freezing..then out them in the fridge..that way they are already dormant..
    I have said it before and I will say it again

    The fridge does not cause or create the dormancy..it simply maintains the dormancy that was already achieved by keeping the plants outdoors all spring, summer and autumn..

    if your plants pull through (and im sure some will) ust try putting them in the fridge earlier next fall..
    the beginning of November is usually the best time..

    Normally I bring my plants out Valentines day..but im trying an experiment this year..they are STILL down in the stairwell (my "fridge") right now..they have been there four solid months now..im going to bring them out in another few weeks, then wheel them out of the garage during the day through April (when its above freexing during the day) then wheel them into the garage at night (when its below freezing) until they can go back out on the deck for the season..when night-time temps start staying about 32 degress on a regular basis..usually mid or late April..

    sorry you had some plant loss!
    it happens..
    looks like that December freeze/thaw cycle was deadly..

    Scot

    ---------- Post added at 08:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:48 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by petmantis View Post
    ....

    I disagree with that, and I have proof to back me up. Look all over the OCPS forums on outdoor bog gardening, countless people keep vfts, sarrs (EVEN S> psittacina and S. purp venosa!) outdoors YEAR ROUND.
    A simple layer of mulch can solve huge issues like that. And consider that winters up here in Ontario and Quebec are long and harsh, lasting around 6 months, that just says how hardy plants are.

    Do a bit of research, Scotty - while in some parts are indeed harsh, it IS possible to leave them outdoors, therefore we don't HAVE to use the ''fridge method''.
    yes, its possible..I have always said that..but in bogs in the ground..
    which is almost NEVER the case when we talk about the fridge method..
    usually it newbys, who have plants in pots, who are trying to figure out how to get their plants through their first dormancy..in those cases, someone living in the deep south saying "just leave it outside, its fine" is giving terrible advice..because they really cant just leave it outside..

    of course they can be overwintered outdoors up here..
    but under ideal, controlled conditions, for experienced growers, with outdoor bogs, in the ground, that are well mulched and well protected..most of the time when someone is asking about the fridge method, they are talking about the "death cube" VFT that they bought at Home Depot a few months ago and have been growing on a windowsill, "and now its December, what do I do??"

    or even CP hobbiests who simply dont have the luxury of an outdoor bog..apartment dwellers..highschool or college students..even people who have been growing 5-10 years who simply dont own their own home..an outdoor bog is a luxury few can enjoy..

    for those people, who are probably 90% of CP growers in northern climates, the fridge method really is the only workable solution..

    I have doing the fridge method for 17 years now..
    I still have not attempted an outdoor bog..
    mainly because until 4 years ago I didnt own my own home, so an outdoor bog simply was not possible...im now tempted to try it! probably not this spring..but hopefully next spring!

    So I still have to use the fridge method myself..it works fine..and it really is my only option..

    Scot

  7. #23
    back2eight's Avatar
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    cant leave VFTs and Sarrs outdoors in zones 6,

    Yes you can. I'm in zone 6, and like I said, my winter has been unusually cold this year. The weather has been freaky. And I'll say it again, it's not the cold that kills the plant. It's dehydration from having their pots completely frozen for long periods of time and the winds take the moisture out of the plant. You can solve that by simply covering the plant with something - plastic bag, pine straw, etc. - to help block the wind. Or erect a greenhouse but don't heat it and put them in there. Just leave the plants outside, make sure they have water, and leave them alone.

  8. #24
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by back2eight View Post
    cant leave VFTs and Sarrs outdoors in zones 6,

    Yes you can. I'm in zone 6, and like I said, my winter has been unusually cold this year. The weather has been freaky. And I'll say it again, it's not the cold that kills the plant. It's dehydration from having their pots completely frozen for long periods of time and the winds take the moisture out of the plant. You can solve that by simply covering the plant with something - plastic bag, pine straw, etc. - to help block the wind. Or erect a greenhouse but don't heat it and put them in there. Just leave the plants outside, make sure they have water, and leave them alone.
    Or erect a greenhouse but don't heat it and put them in there.
    we have discussed greenhouses..for years..
    greenhouses are no good up here..
    because when its +10 degrees outside the greenhouse in January, the sun might heat the inside of the greenhouse to +12..an unheated greenhouse is useless..

    and just "protecting from wind" is also not sufficient..
    because going into winter, and coming out of winter, we get weeks at a time where its above freezing during the day, but below freezing at night..this freeze-thaw cycle is deadly..as we know from this thread..
    the only way to avoid the freeze/thaw is if the plants are deeply insulated in an in-ground bog, buried under 2-feet of thick insulation..
    or.. in the fridge! where its a nice cool 35 degrees all winter..no freezing at all.
    there really is no middle ground..
    just being casually, lightly covered in a pot outside isnt going to cut it..its not nearly enough protection.

    sorry eight,
    but you just cant compare Mississippi with anything we have up here..
    even if you get "unusual cold"..its still unusual for Mississippi!
    "extreme cold" is very subjective..

    If it hits 40 degrees in Florida in February, people consider it a deep freeze..break out the winter coats and hats..

    If it hits 40 degrees in February up here, its a spring thaw, a heat wave, people literally go out in t-shirts and shorts and go for a walk along the canal,
    on the melting snow and ice, because its so amazingly warm out..

    "unusual winter cold" for Mississippi is what we call "April" up here..

    you said you got snow three times this winter..which is very rare..
    we have snow on the ground for 4 months straight..
    this weekend its going to hit 40 degrees for the first time in probably 2 months..
    we got 2 feet of snow last weekend..
    we wont have daffodils blooming for another 4 weeks probably..

    sorry, but you really cant give advice to Idaho based on how you grow in Mississippi..it just doesnt work..

    (just curious..where are you getting zone 6 in Mississippi? all the USDA zone maps show zones 7, 8 and 9 for Mississippi)

    im just stating the facts..
    its cold up here..

    most CP growers really really really cant keep their VFTs and Sarrs outdoors up here all winter..again, please believe me..its simply the truth..its not "my opinion"..its just a brutal honest fact..yes, some people can do it, but again, in large bogs, buried deeply in the ground (which provides a lot of insulation) deep mulch, etc etc..

    putting a normal CP pot out on the deck, only protected from wind, I guarentee you will result in absolute death..I tried it..it doesnt work..

    if it was really that easy, dont you think we would all be doing it??
    why would we all "waste our time" with all these tedious fridge method preparations if we didnt have to? the reason we do it is because we really have to..


    please please please please believe me..I am not making this up. .

    its nothing personal..I honestly dont understand why people insist in fighting me about this..its just a fact of nature..I didnt create CP's..I didnt make them native to the South East US..if you insist in not believing me, you are arguing against nature, not me.. and I dont know what else I can say to convince you...


    Scot

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