Here comes the freeze! We only get a couple of these a year, but this is the first time I’ve been on pins and needles about it. I have a lot of vegetables seedlings out there – radishes, lettuce, onions and carrots – and they stand to fare badly below temperatures in the mid-twenties. In the past I never worried about freezes much as the natives I had planted generally withstood the cold or the they didn’t. If they didn’t I reasoned I didn’t really want them around anyway.
So, I’ve covered everything vegetable-like, and have renewed the sense that I really dislike covering plants. Still, I’m much more committed to these vegetable starts.
No stranger to last minute improvisation and experimentation, I’m trying something based on a comment my dad made here. I have a number of five-gallon plastic jugs from work that normally carry a non-toxic press chemical. I filled five of these and placed them under the covers and near the vegetables. Over a few of them, I put large clay pots as additional insulation:
(Note: the hose has nothing to do with the arrangement.)
My reasoning is that the clay pot will insulate the hot tap water in the jugs a little more than the straight plastic. And if that helps raise the surrounding temperature by even a degree or two, it might make all the difference. For some reason, the term for these contraptions that popped into my head was “heat cistern”.
On my deck, too, I covered my potted herb garden. I took the splashy “bobbler” out of my fountain and dumped 5 gallons of hot water in the fountain. Again, just a degree or two…
Update tomorrow on my experiment’s results. Wish me luck!