Pages

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I've Got Good News and Bad News

I'll start with the good news...

Just when we could all use a feel good story, I heard about this on NPR while making breakfast Monday morning (yay! something other than election coverage!). A woman in upstate New York found a Monarch that pupated way too late, so Southwest Airlines is flying them to San Antonio so she can release the butterfly at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens where it will have flowers to feed on and it can catch up to the migration train. Pretty cool, huh?

You can read about it here.

Now with the bad news...

This only applies to me, so I'm just publicly whining here. My plans to grow veg (and other things) into the winter months have come to a screeching halt. I assumed all I had to do was cover the frames of my raised beds with greenhouse plastic or "special" frost blankets and my salad greens and herbs would be protected from frost and freeze, at least down into the 20's. Well they're not, neither material worked. I really thought I had done a good job, sealing everything tight, but even though it only got down to 31 last night, everything is frozen solid inside, including the Basil seedlings I just planted out (grrrr!), dead after the first night! I'm so sad, I had such grand plans of leafy green salads well into December, but alas...Apparently even folks with proper greenhouses have to provide some kind of heat source to get through a cold night. So now the grandiose plan of having a real greenhouse built means I have to have space heaters too? What's the point then? I thought the greenhouse itself was insulation enough. Call me foolish...

Did. not. work.  :-(

If the lettuces come back to life, it'll be a miracle, and you better believe I'll be picking what's left and bringing it inside. You can't tell, but they are frozen solid.

13 comments:

  1. I know some people continue their raising time by having lanterns in their greenhouses. The lanterns give some warmth.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hm. I'm surprised to hear about the fact that the winter greenhouse didn't work.

    Please keep us updated on whether the lettuce bounces back. If not, maybe try some Asian greens? I believe some of them are supposed to be hardy on their own (i.e. even without protection) into the 20s...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would never have believed it, but the lettuces did thaw out and survive! I don't understand it, lettuce that accidentally freezes in the refrigerator usually turns to mush but it looks okay and I picked some and ate it last night.

      Delete
  3. So sorry about your lettuce. That would make me very sad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jason, I'm baffled but it looks like my lettuce survived. There's no resurrecting the basil, however, I'll have to try growing that inside.

      Delete
  4. Dr Don't Try This at HomeNovember 8, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Sometimes the the plastic pipe fumes combined with the natural moth-inhibiting properties of cedar are toxic to non-native, invasive salad greens. DO NOT place these sick seedlings in your compost as they are only fit for human consumption.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your insight, you should stop by more often.

      Delete
  5. Its not everyday that we all get to hear/read "authentic Floyd County Virginia gibberish". I think we are all just a little bit wiser for having read the good doctor's advice.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Julie, I'm Nadezda. It's pity your basil was frozen. We have cold winter here every year and I haven't plans to grow something in unheated greenhouse! It's impossible. All greenhouses where the veges are grown during cold season, have space heaters. I'm sorry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for visiting my blog Nadezda!

      Delete
  7. Put a fan in those things! (seriously! =])

    I'll have to do some more thinking on the best way to prevent this from happening, but even when air temperatures are still slightly above freezing, you may experience your plants turning stone cold over night.

    During the night your leafy green's stomates are closed and the sun is gone, so any heat gain (or loss) is most likely to come about by convection (sometimes thermal radiation, too!).

    As the air temperature begins to drop, there is a point when the leaf will be warmer than the surrounding air. At this point, the leaf is now giving off more energy than it's receiving, and over time, becomes cooler than the surrounding air. After reaching this point, the relatively warmer air will give up its energy to the leaf through convection. The air is now a cooler and denser, and will form a cool parcel of air at the base of the plant, allowing the temperature to drop a few degrees below surrounding air.

    So if we disrupt the boundary layer of leaves, we can possibly prevent freezing and at least keep the air at ambient temperatures!

    ReplyDelete