Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cold Front

Cold Front!  BRRRRRRR!

I spent yesterday afternoon getting the plants ready for the impending cold weather.  This front is bringing about 3 days of below 50F temps and two nights of mid to low 30s.  Since I just started harvesting tomatoes from my plants (and they have a bunch of tomatoes on them), I decided to do something I've never done in the past - I decided to actually TRY to save the plants.  I usually will put some bed sheets over the plants when it gets cold, but that's about as far as I go.  This time I actually went to the store and bought some Chistmas lights (I never thought I'd be so happy to have Christmas displays up the day after Halloween) and two extension cords.  Then I came home and tried to wrap the tomato plants in the leaves.  I first wrapped the lights on the cages, then threw the sheet overtop and immediately was like "oh, that's a fire hazard."  On the growbox tomatoes I managed to get the lights away from the sheet with the help of a bunch of clothes pins, but it was not working with the garden tomato.  Then I wrapped the plant itself, which totally bound it all up, and then I had the brilliant idea of wrapping the lights around a T-post, staking it in the ground next to the tomato plant (inside the cage) and then covering the whole thing with a sheet.  Total time to wrap the growbox tomatoes: 1 hour 15 minutes.  Total time to wrap the garden tomatoes (when I actually went with the T-post idea): 13 minutes.


After wrapping

Growbox all lit up

Garden Toms all lit up

After getting the tomatoes ready for the weather (and harvesting the basil and eggplants), I decided to do some research for a shelving unit that I could keep my cacti and succulents on when I pull them all inside.  After some research, I narrowed it down to a 30x24x14 3-shelf industrial thing from Lowe's (which would be very good for starting seedlings), the Hyllis (55x24x11) shelf from IKEA, and the Mulig (35x23x13 OR 64x23x13) shelf, also from IKEA. The Hyllis was the cheapest, the Lowe's would be the best for seed starting (but would obviously be covered in plants at the time when I needed to start seedlings), and the Mulig matches our kitchen the best (but was the most expensive).  In the end, I opted to get the Hyllis because I figure I can put it to use elsewhere during the summer season, and at $15, it wouldn't break the budget if I only used it for one year before getting rid of it.

All filled up with plants...most of which probably can be outside.
And of course, the tropicals are too large to fit on the shelf, but needed to be brought in - this year, I've decided they should just stay inside the entire winter (I've always drug them in and out).  So they're all set up in the extra room.
Plumeria, unscented Plumeria and Ginger.

Sadly, the tropicals will be spending the winter in the extra bedroom, which also happens to be "the kitten room" and I probably shouldn't have kittens locked in a room with plants that they can chew on, so that means I can't have foster kittens until next spring...which I'm sad about, but I think the resident cat and the husband are actually very happy about.


Debra said...

I was planning on building a cold frame this week. hahaha TOO LATE. The prediction for tonight is 27. Yipes. So instead I am making due with putting some plants against the south wall of the house. Unfortunately for us but good for the plants it has some heat loss. Around the plants I am piling up leaves. Millions of pecan leaves as an insulator. The super tender plants are coming inside. I guess I should have listened to the persimmons. They told me it was going to be a cold winter and like a fool I disbelieved ....

sandy lawrence said...

I have a persimmon tree. What should I have heard the fruit say about this early destruction of a beautiful fall? Please tell us so we can listen to them next year!

Travis Heights Garden Mama said...

Beautiful glowing tomato! I harvested my green ones- maybe I'll try some chutney, or fry them all up tomorrow.

The tropicals look happy inside!

Debra said...

Sandy: if you remove the seeds from a native persimmon and cut them in two there will be one of three shapes. A spoon means mounds of snow (not likely haha). A fork shape means alternating periods of warm and cold. But if you see knife shapes (and I did in every one) it means a winter of cutting cold. Let's hope mine were outliers and that they were wrong ....