Planting next to a wall/fence

plantslayer(8)February 20, 2010

I just noticed that now that my landlord has trimmed a large fir tree in my back yard, there is now a spot with enough sunlight to grow a few tomato plants. They would be in a fairly narrow raised bed with reasonably deep soil, right on the south side of a tall wooden plank fence. The spot will get at least 8 hours of sunlight every day in the summer time, I estimate.

I am wondering if there are any shenanigans involving this fence that I can use to benefit the plants. Would hanging reflective material on it give the plants a significant amount of extra sunlight? Or would putting something black there keep them warmer? It doesn't often get much warmer than 90*f in the hottest part of summer around here, and the nights tend to be cool. When I plant tomatoes out around 5/1 it is borderline "too cold" for them at night. Could a wooden fence retain enough heat to be useful at night?

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sprouts_honor(5, southern shore of Erie)

Wood probably retains some heat but not like brick. Purchase a few Wall of Water if you're worried about night temperatures early in the season. Covering the fence with something white would reflect a lot of light. I plant next to a white fence and it has been very beneficial. It also blocks a cold north wind off of Lake Erie.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 9:37AM
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With that wall where it is, you could simply staple a sheet of clear plastic midway up the fence and bring it down to a foot or two in front of the plants and cinch it to the ground with wood or whatever you have lying around. Coupled with the heat absorption of what I assume is the fairly dark wood background of the fence, you'll have your own little greenhouse for just a couple bucks worth of heavy plastic.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 3:23PM
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Hmm, now we're talking. I'll have to give that plastic tent idea a try. Maybe together with a black background and WoW at the same time. And then maybe I can switch over to white when it heats up outside. :)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 4:07PM
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azruss(8b Tucson)

Good ideas. Here's one to consider. In the summer, use silvered plastic or mylar to line the fence. It will reflect TONS of light and possibly increase your harvest. Not only that, it will help prevent the wood from retaining heat. I go through several mylar campers' emergency blankets every spring/summer. They're fairly cheap and they work wonders. Good for mulch, too.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 4:32PM
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