Thisisme

agility_mom(z9 AZ)November 27, 2010

You mentioned in another post that you used Christmas lights and you also covered your plants.

I have a couple of questions for you.

I put C7 lights on my plants so that should be equal to around 125 watts. Will the lights touching my plants burn them? I did try to not have them touch but if it gets windy that could change.

Also, what about the lights touching the covering material? I'm using burlap and the stuff you buy specially for plants.

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thisisme(az9b)

Hi agility_mom, The lights should not start a fire on you tree but they do get pretty hot. These bulbs are used all the time outdoors on trees and you seldom hear of any fires caused by them. Even so I would not put them in direct contact with burlap because there is at least a possibility of fire. I'm not a tree but I would not want one of those hot lights resting on me and I would not catch fire either.

I read your post in another thread. That flood light would put out a lot of heat and is fine too.

If anyone is unsure what to do I recommend reading Publication AZ 1002 on Frost Protection. It has lots of good information on how to protect plants and trees here in Arizona. They is a diagram of how to protect a tree in the publication.

For extended weather forecasts I find that accuWeather.com is more accurate than what is forested on cox's site.

The link below is for Mesa but you can change it to any city you like. Looks like its going to get cold here in a couple of days. Not 21 but it seems that temps are coming in colder than even accuWeather forecasts and any colder than the forecast 31 degrees and we are freezing for sure.

http://www.accuweather.com/us/az/mesa/85201/forecast-month.asp

Here is a link that might be useful: Publication AZ 1002 Frost Protection

    Bookmark   November 27, 2010 at 10:39PM
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agility_mom(z9 AZ)

Thanks for the links. I bookmarked them.

I really tried to not have those lights touching the plants so hopefully they will stay where I put them.

With any luck it won't get so cold that I have to have light and cover on most of my more sensitive plants but I'm almost ready if I do. I ran out of extension cords so I will get those tomorrow.
Without building a frame, it is really hard to cover the plants with lights on them and not have the lights touch the cloth. I did build frames on some plants but it really takes a lot of fabric to cover them when you do that.

The floodlight that I got is an outdoor one. It was $6 at Walmart in the Christmas area. While the ground stake is plastic it is good for what I wanted it for.

This frost proofing plants is like a part time job :)

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 1:32AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Thanks for the link to the Frost Protection article thisisme, good info there.

agility_mom, it *really can* be like a part-time job but one nugget I got from the frost protection article addresses 'smart planting' by utilizing heat from immediate surroundings, like walls and benches. Folks with greenhouses often use black water drums that heat up during the day from the sun or some other means, they hold the heat through the night.

Shop Savers or Goodwill for flannel sheets. A Queen size sheet nicely fits my 4'x6' raised bed. A couple lengths of PVC, or old lumber 2x4's work great to hold them in place.

For two years I ran around like a maniac trying to get everything covered up. This year I tried to be more careful in *how* and *where* I planted so covering would be easier. The raised beds are a snap. and the gardens along the east side of the house are mostly contained in a long narrow bed that paralells the chain link fence. We dropped flannel sheets from the top of the chain link to a pvc trellis thingy that forms a lean-to. I'll get a picture later today. These pvc trellis are da bomb. A friend found 10 of them being discarded. She grabbed all ten and traded me 5 for a 55-gallon drum.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 8:55AM
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thisisme(az9b)

Marymcp I love the shapes you can get with that erosion barrier you used. I wish there was a place that delivered at a reasonable price in the East Valley. I could use a few runs for a couple more raised beds.

I was going to plant two more trees today but preparing for the cold has taken priority. My better half is heading out to the local Salvation Army and the Goodwill to buy blankets and sheets. I will be heading over to Home Depot to get some more row cover and burlap.

At this point I'm feeling more than a little conflicted. I'm expecting a few really cold nights this winter and spending money to defend against them. Once I spend the money though part of me wants it to get cold to justify the expense. Another part of me hopes its just a false alarm. In the end I guess I'm better off having all this stuff and not needing it than I am needing it and not having it.

Either way I hope everyones garden makes it through the winter healthy and intact.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 11:25AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

me, that's my 'keyhole garden', got the idea from one of the forums I visit, don't recall if it was this one or another. I really like it. I now have buckwheat spouting as a winter cover crop in about half that garden. Wanted to try that for 'green composting' material and I read the roots of the buckwheat are good for managing or eliminiating nematode problems.

Why do you need the straw wattles delivered? They should fit in a car trunk.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 11:59AM
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xica_da_silva

Totally agree about the frost-proofing being like a part-time job!

Eventually I'll have to figure something out like marymcp so I won't be running around like crazy.

My question is, knowing that we're having 2 likely frost nights in a row, would it hurt the plants to just leave the frost cloth on throughout the day for tomorrow until the following Tuesday morning? Because I'd of course really rather not have to remove and reapply everything 2 days in a row!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 6:18PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

xica, I've done that before with no bad results. Cuts down on the part-time work, eh?

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 7:48PM
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thisisme(az9b)

xica you should be able to leave them. The University that wrote the publication says to remove the covering so the ground under the trees/plants can be re-heated by the sun. I think marymcp is right though as long as temps are reaching into the 50's during the day. If daytime temps start dipping into the 40's though it would be best to remove the coverings during the day unless you are placing a heat source under the coverings.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 9:21PM
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xica_da_silva

Thanks for your quick responses, thisisme and marymcp!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 9:13AM
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agility_mom(z9 AZ)

Mary, the things that I am protecting this year are my 13 new citrus trees and other frost sensitive trees and bushes mostly with just a few other things like some basil and tomatoes.
Instead of buying sheets etc, I bought a 250' X 12' roll of N-Sulate for plants. It was $119 plus shipping. The thing that I really like about this stuff is that I can leave it on the plants for a few days when we are having a cold spell. That sure saves a lot of work.
So far, most of my work has been getting things set up. Putting lights on the plants, posts up and cutting fabric etc.
It will get a whole lot easier once I have everything set up. I'm almost there. Things are protected right now but I want to be ready for a hard frost.
Next year, I will have all of my stuff on hand ready to go unless I buy more frost sensitive plants.

I'm paying the piper for planting frost sensitive stuff :)

Thank you for all of the good tips.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 2:01PM
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thisisme(az9b)

Nice score on the 250' X 12' roll of N-Sulate agility_mom. That stuff is the real deal. Where did you get such a good deal?

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 3:26PM
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agility_mom(z9 AZ)

The Greenhouse Mega Store. It has been working out really well.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 8:26PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

I agree, that sounds like a good price. Good luck keeping it all alive. What a challenge. From triple digits in late October to freezing temps at Thanksgiving. Weird weather.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 7:58AM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Fun discussion and great pics! Thanks for all of the great information and ideas. My little garden still hasn't been zapped by frost yet (knock wood) but I'm sure one is coming. Even my very frost-sensitive basil looks great (for now, LOL).

Happy gardening all,
Grant

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 11:57AM
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agility_mom(z9 AZ)

Thanks to coverings and lights, mine for the most part are looking good. The only damage that I see are a few of the leaves at the top of my passion fruit vine and some leaves on a fig tree. I didn't realize that I needed to cover it. It wasn't dormant yet. The next cold snap if it still has leaves, I will cover it.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 12:29AM
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