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#199202 - 09/29/17 01:35 AM Fall/Winter Garden Experiment
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I'm going to try growing salad veggies this autumn-winter using some low hoop and visqueen row covers. I planted a salad garden this time of year a couple years ago and we had wonderful fresh salad with our Thanksgiving Dinner, but it died shortly after. Still, I was surprised by how much I got out of it and I didn't have any bug problems to speak of. That part of it was really nice.

I'm using 1/2' pex tube for the hoops and old tent poles for stakes to hold them up and I'm going to experiment with using the reflective "emergency blankets" inside the rows running along the bottom 6"-10" inches of the row covers to help solar heat the inside during the day. Hopefully the soil will warm enough with that to help keep things from freezing inside overnight.

The past few winters we've had here have been pretty mild and I think I might be able to keep the covered rows warm overnight by covering them with emergency blankets on colder nights. (This will reflect the heat radiating from the soil back into the covered row and retain it longer).

I figure I can also burn a candles or oil lamps inside the covered rows and place cinderblocks over the flames to help retain and evenly distribute the heat on really cold nights.

This sounds like it could end up being a bit too labor intensive but I'm going to try to design it to minimize the maintenance routine. And I'm going to start with just one row in my garden for this, and probably only 1/2 -2/3 of one (24-36 sq ft) to make it easy on myself.

It's just an experiment, but if it works here it will work most anywhere in the mainland US and it could be a lot of fun and worth the bit of extra effort to extend the growing season. It certainly won't cost me much because I just won't spend much, so it should pay for itself pretty fast and then generate savings too, and last several seasons with minimal fuss.

Anyone have any thoughts or ideas on this?
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#199203 - 09/29/17 05:07 AM Re: Fall/Winter Garden Experiment [Re: billstephenson]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1153
Loc: Florida panhandle
I had a small winter garden a few years back. I used a popup greehhouse (commercially available) that folds for storage and when used was about the size of a pup tent. The sides zipped open for access.

For light freezes (down to maybe 28-30 degrees) no heat was necessary. Just zip it shut. I had to unzip during the day as it could get pretty warm. For hard freezes (25 degrees for more than a couple hours) I used an incandescent bulb in a drop lamp. Consider a 60 watt incandescent bulb is basically a 55 watt heater. It was more than enough. I would suggest going with 40 watt or lower if you can find them.

I can't wait to see pictures!

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#199232 - 10/05/17 06:51 PM Re: Fall/Winter Garden Experiment [Re: PerryMK]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I should be able to assemble it over the next couple days. This past week I let my burros into the garden to clear out all the grass and other stuff they'd eat and spent a few evenings out there with them pulling weeds I know they don't eat.

We finally got a bit of rain here after a long dry spell and it's cooling down over the next few days so the garden is ready for me to start setting it up.
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