Insulating Plant Protectors? Worth trying?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by savinggrace, Jan 11, 2007.

  1. savinggrace

    savinggrace COO of manure management

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    Hi,

    In Jung's catalog on page 78 there are water filled insulating plant protectors, they are tepee type things. Supposedly protect to 16F. 3/$9.99

    Has anyone tried them? In this area, it seems like just when the tomato plants start really rocking, we get a frost and bam. That's it.

    If I could get them started mid-April instead of mid-May....that would get me an extra few weeks before early frosts! :)

    Also. On page 74 they show a product called 'The Automator'. It is a 12" plastic tray that you place over the dirt-the tray has a hole in the center-you plant the seedlings inside, it holds 1/2 gallon of water and releases the water slowly through four holes in the pan.

    Sounds great in theory. But at $7.95 for 3, I am wondering if I can't make something similar out of aluminum pie tins for nothing, perhaps spray painted black so they aren't shiney and too reflective. Or, if the metal isn't a good idea, perhaps those disposable plastic paint-tray liners?

    Oh one last thing. To build a simple-seriously simple cold frame, I am contemplating surrounding the planting area with straw bales. Setting an old glass sliding door atop. It is so old there is no chance the glass is treated with UV film. I was going to keep a thermometer in it to test temps. for some time before planting. Think it should work?



    Thanks!
     
  2. seymojo536

    seymojo536 Well-Known Member

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    O.K. you asked,

    1) plant protectors - a lot of money to save 3 plants. PITA to fill, anchor, take down and store. spend the 10 bucks on a row of plastic and make a mini high tunnel cover over the plants using some stiff wire (clothes hangers work great) for the arches.

    2) again 8 bucks for 3 plants??? take a gallon milk jug, poke a small hole near the bottom and you'll water the plant for a week, or a couple of hours if you make the hole too big.

    3) excellent idea, I have picked up doors, windows at auctions or yard sales for a buck, just because nobody wanted to load em up and take them home.
    Cheap glass beats plastic any time. Good idea on the thermometer, it'll get plenty hot in there. I use short 2x4s to ajust the gap. Just make sure the wind can't catch it. Also, when it's really early I use manure in the bottom of the frame to give me some free heat.

    hey, look at it this way, you batting .333 That'll get you in the HOF.

    Good luck, let us know how it goes.
     

  3. wilderness1989

    wilderness1989 Well-Known Member

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    Good luck.
     
  4. savinggrace

    savinggrace COO of manure management

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  5. tchan

    tchan Well-Known Member

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    I use Wall O Waters every year. I have about 12 of them and this will be the fourth year I have gotten out of them. I usually start my tomatoes in the wall of waters in March. Last year we got a late snow of three feet and when the snow melted there were my tomatoes, growing happy as can be. With the extra growing time, I had ripe tomatoes in June. I learned about them 12 years ago in Utah where they are commonly used and have used them ever since. This year my tomatoes will all be planted in March again. They are already growing in the greenhouse. I have never used the Automaters but I wanted to get some for my father in So. California to try.
     
  6. Marcia in MT

    Marcia in MT Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A tip for the Wall O Waters: set the units in place at least a week before you want to put the plants in the garden. This gives them time to warm up the soil well before the roots go into it.

    I heard an idea for filling them easily, too: cut a length of plastic tubing the size around the top of the opened unit, and put it in a ring with a closed end and a hose female end at the other. Drill or punch holes where the tops of the tubes are. Hook it up to a hose, put it over the opened unit (putting it over a 5 gallon bucket will hold it open), turn on the hose, and all the tubes will fill at the same time.

    If you only fill it about halfway up it will lean in more and give you more frost protection because the top opening will be smaller.
     
  7. GeorgiaberryM

    GeorgiaberryM Well-Known Member

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    Unless you have really a lot of time or some kind of commercial equipment then I would say all of these things are a waste of time. If it gets cold then your tomatoes will die. The compost is an okay idea and saving your milk jugs can work if your plants aren't too big. Mulch can help, and so can planting them close together. But if it gets cold then the plants will die.

    Two options come to mind. Grow them in containers until the freezes are over so they can be moved out of the weather. Plant varieties that mature early if you want early tomatoes.

    I have seen row covers that were made of rebar and pvc, like a hoop house only small, and then covered with plastic. These are easy to install and aren't very expensive, but the cold snaps still make everything too cold during the time of year you would use them and the warm spells will cook them if the plastic is not removed.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that you will not get very active growth during that time of year. I plant mine later and larger, after all frost is gone, and still get very early tomatoes, not quite as early as those spending all of the extra money and taking all of that risk but very shortly thereafter. Use that money on a load of compost.

    (P.S. as previously stated, warming the soil is a good idea.)

    Husband o'G
     
  8. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have wall-of-waters and I love them. Mom bought some and gave them to me because she hated them. They are a lot of trouble to put up. So it may depend on how old and how able you are.
    mary