green house

gman61December 17, 2010

I built an unheated green house that comes off the barn,, i put my potted 1 and 2 year old dormant fig tree's and also persimmon and medlars in there, it still drops down to 20 degrees but also has lots of light. Was wondering if the dormant trees should be covered from the light and kept in darkness? was hoping to give them an early start. What do you guys think?

thanks

gman

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ottawan_z5a

You are in Zone 5 and an unheated garage can be a risky place to give your figs an early start. If the plants sprout after waking up from dormancy and then get unexpcted very low temperatures in the unheated garage then the new growth can die and delay the growing process more than if you give them an early start in the spring where a greenhouse cover can protect them from frost in otherwise less cold weather and a good chance of early start.
I am saying this only from the point of view that the unheated garage can be a less relaible place for early start. If you can make sure that you can provide auxilary heat then it is different situation and early start may help.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 2:44PM
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wildforager(5b-WI)

I don't think the light will make them come out of dormancy. Heat would. No need to cover. FYI I have a greenhouse attached to my home but I add some heat from my woodstove to keep it above freezing in there. The figs have gotten down to 24*F with no damage but I'm not interested in pushing the mercury any lower.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 6:46PM
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fignut

gman, Large fluctuations in temperature should be avoided. If your greenhouse heats up during the day and cools off dramatically at night, you are very likely going to kill your plants. It doesn't matter if the temperature only goes to 20.

Direct sunlight can be a problem. I had plants on the west side of a greenhouse that were heated by sunlight while frozen and they all died. Now, I put up a reflective barrier to protect overwintering plants from radiational heating on the west side.

If you want to keep them in the greenhouse over the winter you should heat to avoid large temperature fluctuations - otherwise put them in an area that has slowly fluctuating temps. And if you want an early start, as ottawan mentioned above, you will have to heat the house to avoid freezing after growth starts.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 4:19PM
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