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Thread: Help me save my Gold Strike

  1. #25
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottychaos View Post
    why is this so hard to understand?

    Scot
    Dude... lighten up. This seems to be a hotbutton issue for you.
    I'm just trying to help; I'm not saying the fridge is evil or something. I have, however, followed mcantrell's woes for over a year now. Call me crazy, but when something is consistently not working for me, I get to thinking about trying a different way. I also seem to recall that when mcantrell first joined and the fridge method was arrived at, it was in response to losing plants left outside unsheltered and in small pots, which is the wrong way to do outdoor dormancy in a cold region to begin with.
    I'm not just talking out my butt here, and I also didn't just spout this because Idaho is close to Washington and I think they're the same. I've made about three dozen loops from Spokane to Missoula to Boise for fishing/skiing/hunting trips in the past ten years, in all seasons. I spent a considerable amount of time naturalizing on those trips, since I've been a conservation geek since elementary school. I've seen what grows there, and spent a lot of time comparing it to the plants I learned exploring the Pacific coast, Willamette valley, the Cascades and the Rockies. The conditions I've observed in southern Idaho weren't significantly different than those of the Mt. Hood foothills, where a certain nursery that made a name for themselves on temperate CPs now does their growing, so both my reasoning and my intuition tell me that growing outdoors is doable - perhaps even beneficial and (dare I say?) preferable.
    Have you ever been through Twin Falls, or even to Idaho? Please don't jump on people's heads just because you don't like their opinion. Not only did I see and feel the conditions there on numerous occasions; I double-checked my conclusions the first time I advocated mulching, last year, with an almanac. Looking again now, I find that the record low rarely passes below 0F, and the typical low is in the teens. The normal high in risk of frost is never below freezing - not cold enough for extended periods to entirely halt photosynthesis from what I've read - but it's close enough to freezing during the cold season to expect there to be useable snowpack for insulating plants.
    At those temperatures, a foot down into the earth it almost never gets lower than 20F. Covered with snow, an earthen pit would stay staggeringly close to 32F for the duration of most freezing conditions, and even in subzero weather would probably not drop even halfway from the 32F mark. A well-secured tarp, a mulch pile or a snowdrift also maintains a reliable humidity level without reaching the dewpoint, which protects against condensation (a source of rot) and dehydration, while simultaneously staying at or below freezing, which further protects against rot by inhibiting the growth of microbes.
    This arrangement is actually superior to conditions provided by a refrigerator for a number of reasons. For one, the conditions are more consistent; no flushes of air at room temperature/humidity several times daily, and no condenser coils that are colder on one side of the box than the other. Second, it's more clean; in a fridge your plants are exposed to household dusts daily and, unless you have the luxury of devoting a whole fridge to your collection, they're likely wrapped in plastic, allowing condensation to precipitate on them regularly as their tiny thermal mass fluctuates up and down with the cycling of your compressor. (Outdoors your plants see the same pathogens and surface conditions that they do in their natural environs.) Third, it's not a box full of ethylene. (If you don't know why that's important, Google it.) There are probably a lot of other reasons I could get into but I'm getting bored with this part of my shpeel 'cuz I've said it a gazillion times.
    Now let's consider your locale, scotty. Please correct me if I miss anything, but I see some huge differences between western New York and Twin Falls. Let's see - I don't know exactly where you're from, but I'll pick Geneva, NY as my reference point as it's somewhat buffered from the harsh latoral weather systems from the lakes, induction from the Atlantic, and precipitation induction from the Appalachians. There are some differences from Twin Falls, but that's as close an analog (agricultural plains boxed in by wind passages on the north and south sides) as I can find from maps and regional descriptions.
    First off, you're further north than Twin Falls, which means a longer winter, as well as shorter winter days and less sunlight penetration due to the shallower angle of the sun. Second, you're on the eastern coast of a large northern landmass, which means that during winter, your weather comes predominantly from the cold, high mountains, and not the warm, low ocean. Consulting the almanac, I find that your frost season is significantly longer (four months with average daily highs in the low 30s as opposed to just over a month for Twin Falls) with corresponding a deep freeze season that is also longer (almost two months with average daily lows in the teens versus a week or two.) When you look at the record lows, the differences become even greater; record winter lows in your area appear to average around -10F, while in Twin Falls they hover around 0F.
    I think it's also worth noting that your temperatures are warmer in the summer, and I'd be willing to bet dollars to cents that your humidity is higher (I'd check but somehow this five-line response has turned into a thesis, and I need dinner.) Combine that with longer summer days, a greater photoperiod gradient, and better quality summer light due to your latitude (that one is iffy - mcantrell's elevation may cancel that out atmospherically) and you have a much more vigorous habitat for temperates in the summertime. You don't just need more wintertime sheltering in your area; you also stand less to lose by putting your plants in dark/hibernative dormancy because they get a higher quality growing season while they're outside.
    I'm sure you'll have some counterpoints - I'm looking forward to them.
    ~Joe

    PS - Another important point is that in your area, when it gets cold, it stays cold. Here in Washington this fall we went from 40ish to a freak cold snap down in the single digits. It came on in the course of a few days with hard freezes at night and thawing days, and then got lower and stayed for weeks. I was sick at the time and didn't have a chance to cover things until my pitchers were already crisping up, well into the bulk of the cold. I has also just drained all of my tubs because I thought, "Gee, it's been really cold and dark but it isn't cold enough to freeze - I should give my VFTs some air." Although it made my foliage look like crap, and the plants were unprepared for the change, and I didn't do a good job of covering stuff once I actually had a chance to do so, my plants are all fine. Out of a hundred or more individual Sarracenia, I think I lost maybe one or two psittacina - I don't even know if they're dead, just that they dropped more leaves than they usually do over winter. Aside from that, I might've lost a few runty, nickel-sized VFTs from cuttings, out of dozens, and that was probably because my propagation trays had so many points popping up that some of the smaller plants were actually forced up out of the media altogether. Such a scenario is a disaster for many growers. How did I pull through? My plants are in big pots for their size, and the pots are clustered together with no air gaps. They mulch themselves, more or less. (Square pots are essential to make this work for small plants. With bigger ones you can deal with the gaps between round pots; just choose pots that are somewhat oversized for your rhizome. Alternately you can fill the gaps with pine needle mulch, but fitting your pots together tightly also has the perk of suppressing evaporation and algae growth in water trays during the grow season.) Plants aren't meant to grow in little lumps of soil on top of a table with only a few millimeters of plastic between them and the elements; plants don't live in the sky. They live in the ground. You too, scotty, could do your growing outside; just put your plants together and when it starts to get really, really cold, pile some snow on.
    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. #26
    sss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sss View Post
    You should have just mulched them(I'm assuming you live in a area that gets cold winters). Just trim them down and cover them with about 6" of mulch. Thats what I did and we had a couple of weeks in the single digits even below zero. When it stays above 20 degrees F you can unmulch them or if you want to take them out everytime it jumps above 20 for a week or so you can. This is my first dormancy year but all the plants seem to be okay nothing mushy. My sarracenias still have good color as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by sss View Post
    That doesn't look much colder then were I live. In fact we had like 3 weeks below 20 degrees. The frigde method does work though. Did you spray with funguscide?
    I don't think you read my posts, so I bolded the important stuff. I'm talking about sarracenias, I'm not sure the differences in cold tolerance between sars and dionaeas, but I am assuming they are about the same.

    And before you say how much worse your conditions are then mine, we just had about a foot of snow last week, and we are getting in the 40s this weekend, JUST LIKE YOU.

  3. #27
    mcantrell's Avatar
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    No fighting, please.

    It's a very cold area here. Very dry, with gale force winds the norm.

    I imagine if I had buried my plants, or found them a better spot in the sun, or perhaps had tried some form of winterization, they would have been better. As it stands, I lost two plants as far as I can tell -- my gold strike and my "Abnorma" seedling from CC.

  4. #28
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Hehe, I don't mean to fight, but I'm certainly cranky this evening so it might come off that way. I just want you to find something easy that works for your situation. Don't be afraid to experiment! Buy some cheapo bulk S. flava rhizomes and have a little mad scientist fun.
    ~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//~

  5. #29
    sea bear returns! theyellowdart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottychaos View Post
    Resident of Arkansas
    No... Resident of Alaska.
    growlist

    Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?

  6. #30
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seedjar View Post
    Dude... lighten up. This seems to be a hotbutton issue for you.
    I'm just trying to help; I'm not saying the fridge is evil or something. I have, however, followed mcantrell's woes for over a year now. Call me crazy, but when something is consistently not working for me, I get to thinking about trying a different way.
    Have you ever been through Twin Falls, or even to Idaho?
    no one is fighting here..its just a debate!
    no different than hundreds of other threads over the years..
    and I am perfectly "light"..
    its just annoying to me when people give bad advice..
    for the sake of the plants, and for the sake of newbys who might follow bad advice, I will always correct misconceptions about the fridge method..I have been doing it for years! this is nothing new! but when people say "dont use the fridge, its bad" I have to jump on that..because its not bad at all..its often FAR better than leaving the plants outside..

    Please don't jump on people's heads just because you don't like their opinion.
    but its often not a matter of opinion..
    if someone from Mississippi says "just lighty cover the plants, they will be fine" or "just put them in a greenhouse" and I say "those ideas wont work"..thats not opinion..its simply a fact those ideas will not work, for certain people, because of where they live.

    yes I know, VFT and Sarrs *can* survivie outdoors if properly prepared..we have all been over that a million times..but thats not what im debating in this thread..im not even talking about that..im simply talking about the idea that "just cover them lighty, to protect from wind" (terrible idea for Idaho) and "dont use the fridge method, its bad" (completely wrong and bad advice..the fridge method is great if done correctly..I have 17 years of experience to back that up.)

    Im simply arguing against what I believe is bad advice for Mcantrell personally..
    and it really is bad advice in this case..
    he *should* use the fridge method..he should *not* attempt to keep his plants outside in the winter..he does not have an outdoor bog..

    If this thread was about "Joe ultra-experienced grower in Canada" who has a large outdoor bog and wants some advice about how to protect his plants..this would be a completely different discussion..

    outdoor bog methods simply dont apply to this thread..thats all..

    I know people love to jump on me for telling the truth!
    its fine..im used to it..
    but I will keep doing it..because people deserve to have all sides of the story..
    If Mcantrell wants to take advice from someone else, not me, and cover his plants lightly to protect from wind, he is free to do so...but it seems he already tried that idea and it failed..
    so I am wrong then, in this particular case?
    I honestly dont think so..the fact that that particular method failed is not a matter of opinion..its now a confirmed fact..and we all know why it failed..(it failed because "Idaho is too cold" for that particular dormancy method)

    it would work perfectly in Mississippi..it will fail utterly in Idaho..thats all im saying.
    its really very basic and simple..

    so Mcantrells best and only alternative, lacking an in-ground bog, is the much maligned "fridge method"..
    which would work beautifully for him and his particular climate and situation..
    in this case:

    fridge method = excellent idea.
    leaving plants outside in pots, lightly protected = death.

    not a matter of opinion..

    Scot

  7. #31
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Here's a hint about USDA zones; unless you're growing something unprotected on a big flat plot of dirt, yearly low doesn't really mean much about your conditions. It's a hypersimplification designed specifically for large-scale agricultural use. Anybody who is concerned about wintertime temperatures can save themselves a lot of trouble by thumbing through a primer on permaculture; according to many permaculture advocates you can bump your local conditions up by one or two zones by selecting the proper location and doing a little planning ahead.

    Quote Originally Posted by scottychaos View Post
    if someone from Mississippi says "just lighty cover the plants, they will be fine"
    There's a tremendous difference between "lightly covered" and using a mulchpile or a snowdrift. Perhaps you didn't follow the directions properly?

    Quote Originally Posted by scottychaos View Post
    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..
    Pro tip: this is the wrong way. Plants don't live on wooden decks suspended in the air. That's a non-argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by scottychaos View Post
    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)
    Well, Mississippi is actually closer to Idaho than New York. Maybe back2eight can see Idaho from her kitchen window? I can from my bedroom.
    Most USDA zone maps you see are about twenty years old, based on data that was already old when they were published (it's like a fifty year average, after all.) 0F is the border between zone 6b and 7a, which is right around the average winter low for northern Mississippi.
    While we're on the topic of regions; I'm further north than all of you. Yes, on the Puget Sound, I have an excellent buffer that gives me near-Mediterranean conditions, but thirty miles east of here is chaparral and steppe, part of a huge belt of valleys and prarie that extends north into Canada, along the foothills of the Cascades. The wind usually comes from the southwest at my house, making it nice and mild. Something like zone 7/8. Down at my friends' place outside Centrailia, southeast of here, winds blow from the mountains, and conditions are firmly zone 6; they see temperatures in the teens nightly in winter, and dip below zero for a while almost every year. Regional maps say it's zone 7a, but it's colder. According to my friends, who've been there about 20 years, it gets colder every winter. The two pitcher plants I gave them survived two such winters, in the care of very uninformed growers (the first winter they were kept on the second-story balcony with little more than the side of the house to shelter them from wind.) I'm confident the only reason those plants aren't still alive is because they became a snack for my friends' 200lb wolfdog.

    Quote Originally Posted by scottychaos View Post
    yes I know, VFT and Sarrs *can* survivie outdoors if properly prepared..we have all been over that a million times..but thats not what im debating in this thread.
    Apparently not. But the rest of us do seem to be debating that, because mcantrell reports losing plants in fridge. Exactly what are you arguing for? I'm getting a lot of negatives from you and very few affirmations. I think your points about fungicide (was that you?) and timing (pretty sure that one was) are good and useful, but there's still a major question in my mind as to whether or not the fridge is necessary or optimal. Even if outside isn't the best approach, there are options other than the fridge - which you yourself point out.
    I remember reading, on numerous occasions, your pic threads where you describe your fridge method. I've referred people to it many times, in fact. When you used the fridge, you had mold issues you had to guard against, tricky timing related to breaking dormancy, and I believe you said that your partner/fianceť(/wife now?) objected to it on top of the technical problems. (I also seem to remember some tongue-in-cheek comments about not having space for food.) You lost plants each season, on top of all that. Now you're using an unheated room for dormancy instead. I think it's odd that you so vehemently insist that others stick to a system that you yourself have abandoned.
    If you are indeed concerned about helping people with cold problems, how is it that so many of these threads get derailed after you jump in? It's not because of the advice you're giving; it's because you're boldly confrontational and tend to take an, "I'm right, you're wrong," stance while often ignoring the specific details of the original post or the discussion at hand. I admire your confidence, but you take it pretty far most of the time, and that rubs people the wrong way. Especially when people start out in partial agreement with you. (That's the impression that I get, at least. It certainly makes me see red on occasion, as I'm sure you've surmised.)

    Quote Originally Posted by scottychaos View Post
    outdoor bog methods simply dont apply to this thread..thats all..
    And what leads you to believe this? I don't recall you offering any justification other than informally likening the conditions in Idaho to your own, without any actual quantification.

    Quote Originally Posted by scottychaos View Post
    I honestly dont think so..the fact that that particular method failed is not a matter of opinion..its now a confirmed fact..and we all know why it failed..(it failed because "Idaho is too cold" for that particular dormancy method)
    Um, did you read the original post or not? The plants were in the fridge, not outside. The "particular method" that you describe as to have "failed" is fridge dormancy. I guess, if your intent is to kill some of your plants each season, than yes, the fridge is the right method.
    Also: what you're stating is an opinion. You believe that Idaho is too cold to grow plants outside. It's cool to have an opinion, but if you're trying to justify it in an argument, magically graduating it to fact and then referring to it as such doesn't mean that you're done. Maybe I missed something along the way? It helps to refer back to your data when summarizing your argument, especially when lots of people are throwing in.
    A number of very successful growers from harsher conditions point out to you, every single year, that they do their dormancy outside or in an unheated shelter. There are qualifiers to this argument, such as using big pots, the proper amount of mulch, and placing the pots away from wind, but you throw them out in your own counterpoint. Cars don't drive without gas. Mail doesn't reach its destination without a stamp. You need to follow directions if you want something to work; all of the directions, as instructed. You can't just pick-and-choose the parts that suit you at the moment and expect everything to work out like normal. If you ignore the instructions and do things your own way, your experiences don't reflect the method, but rather what you actually did.
    I don't think I'll be replying to this thread anymore, but I'm curious about your logic. If you have any reasons other than, "that's the way it is," and "it's a fact," I'll be looking for them.
    Whoops! I just checked the almanac for back2eight's conditions. Her seasons are closer to mcantrell's than yours, with harsher temperatures that are actually lower than your own. Have you ever heard of the jet stream? Sorry; I think I just broke the crux of your argument. If you'd like, I can start posting graphs, but I'd prefer to be getting paid for doing onerous research like this. We can start with conditions in the native ranges of the "warm-loving" Sarracenia and work our way north.
    ~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. #32
    back2eight's Avatar
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    this freeze-thaw cycle is deadly..

    No it isn't. I have to disagree. That's what happens here with my plants all the time. It is the solid freeze, never thawing out that is deadly. Because when that happens they can't drink. I will say it again, it is dehydration that kills them from being frozen solid for too long. Not freeze and then thaw! That doesn't harm them.

    We had a 2 week solid stretch where the nighttime temps were in the single digits and the daytime didn't get above 30. We had other cold snaps like this as well, but this was the longest. In between these snaps the temps got back up into the 60s. Freezing and thawing doesn't hurt the plants. My plants have survived for 10 years like this.

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