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In for a COLD weekend

 
Posts: 16
Location: Alberta, Canada - Zone 2b ( 3 if I'm lucky)
forest garden urban
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Hi All,

Our temperature is forecasted to drop to -8C/17F this weekend. There will be snow as well.

I have my whole annual bed planted and covered with a small, unheated hoophouse. I currently have some seedlings that have popped up ( they are all very small) - kale, spinach, arugula, & beets. Do I need to do anything to protect these little guys?

Also, my haskap/Honeyberry has some buds that are starting to open. It's still pretty new and small, and thoughts of if it needs to be protected?

Thanks for any tips!
 
master pollinator
Posts: 11433
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Try covering hoophouse with blankets?

 
pollinator
Posts: 670
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Hi Callandra, can you buy or rent a Mr. Buddy propane heater?  They use the 1lb propane canisters or a 20lb tank with an adapter.  If you can, I'd try to fashion a heat shield above it and maybe a fan to circulate.

One of my favourite stores, in terms of price, selection and awesome customer service is Princess Auto.  They've got them; Mr. Buddy!
 
master steward
Posts: 5308
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Those seedlings are cold weather favorable plants but that's awful cold for young plants (I think).  Can you cover them with a little row cover inside the hoop house?  Elliot Coleman says that each layer of protection is like moving your garden one climate zone south.  So if it's 17F outside, it will hopefully be 20ish inside the hoop.  If you can do a frost blanket or sheets over the seedlings, that could keep them above 25F which should be just fine.

The honeyberry was invented for your climate so I wouldn't be too worried.  If you throw a blanket over it I'm sure it won't complain.
 
Callandra Caufield
Posts: 16
Location: Alberta, Canada - Zone 2b ( 3 if I'm lucky)
forest garden urban
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Thanks for the thoughts everyone. I don't think I can easily get my hands on row cover in time, but I do have lots of fleece blankets. I'll directly cover the seedlings and hope they make it! The new forecast shows us dipping as low as -11C/12F.
 
pollinator
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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If you had straw to mulch with, I would drop a layer of straw maybe six inches thick and drop a tarp over it, within the hoop house.

I wonder, if one had oxygenated compost extract, if such a straw layer were treated with it, would there be any thermophilic activity in the event that the night time temperatures stay low for a few days?

Conversely, and it might take too long unless you have a source of living thermophilic bacteria, like a hot compost, it is possible to mix up and inoculate fresh compost in perfect ratio of greens to browns and have it heat up. If the pile(s) were under the same tarp, whatever heat was generated would be trapped under the tarp.

And the best part, as long as you have straw, a tarp, and compostables, is that you don't really need to buy anything, and once it's done, all you're left with is compost in varying levels of decomposition.

Hope your stuff survives, and I hope you find a solution that pleases you.

-CK
 
Posts: 499
Location: Rural Unincorporated Los Angeles County Zone 10b
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Good idea Chris. Straw as insulation would protect the ground's warmer thermal mass from the transient cold, and causing a reaction in it would be even better.
 
steward
Posts: 4713
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Callandra Caufield wrote:I have my whole annual bed planted and covered with a small, unheated hoophouse. I currently have some seedlings that have popped up ( they are all very small) - kale, spinach, arugula, & beets. Do I need to do anything to protect these little guys?



Those are cold hardy species. And they are protected by a hoop house. I expect them to be fine without added protection.

On a purely pragmatic level, I have stopped trying to protect plants from cold. If they freeze, then they freeze, and it's easy to start over. The labor and materials necessary to protect them is often way more expensive than starting over.

 
Callandra Caufield
Posts: 16
Location: Alberta, Canada - Zone 2b ( 3 if I'm lucky)
forest garden urban
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I do have lots of straw, that's a great suggestion and I will likely give it a shot.
 
Posts: 58
Location: Ohio 5b6a
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I made a cheap heater out of lantern.  The tubing is 3” aluminum duct work.  It gets to about 120 deg. Max.  I stole my wife’s scrubber pad from the sink and put it at the end to keep it from pulling to fast of a draft.  The rain cap is steel and I had to buy it. The little fan is a 5volt that I got for free at a trade show.  It works good down to about 20 deg here.
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Callandra Caufield
Posts: 16
Location: Alberta, Canada - Zone 2b ( 3 if I'm lucky)
forest garden urban
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So an update ... we had a huge blizzard, and it dropped to -11c. Adding the extra straw kept our hoop house right around 0c. The seedlings out there still aren't thriving- but it's been hovering around 3c all week, so I'll just be patient.
 
I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam - the great philosopher Popeye. Tiny ad:
Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard
http://woodheat.net
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