Thursday, November 11, 2010

All ready for a long winter's nap ...

Last week's cold weather scare sent many gardeners (including me) scurrying for sheets and towels and shoving plants up against the house.

And of course it did not freeze. Not even close. But that's the nature of, well...Mother Nature.
Because I heard the freeze warning late in the day, there was no way to get all the plants into the greenhouse, especially the big monsters that I simply cannot budge.
So, today I got some help to move the giant pots to get the hardest part of the move situated. Then I spent most of the day putting in the rest of the children...I mean, plants...
The biggest challenge is using sun-lovers to provide enough shade for more delicate plants that spend their summers under the part-time protection of the back patio and the cabana. So plants have to be carefully placed so as not to scorch or get leggy. Then there's the issue of enough room for me to get in there and reach back windows and have some space to work.
This is the work space - just enough for repotting, cleaning up plants and preparing seeds.

The daily watering starts again now -- with the cooler weather, these plants have gone up to 3 days without water around the back patio area. In the greenhouse, it will be too warm yet during the days to let most of them go more than a day.

With a forecast of 60s for the low tonight, they are sleeping with the windows and door open tonight. The cold front arrives tomorrow - 58, and next week we'll be in the low 40s at night. Then the plants will be very glad to be in the greenhouse with the heater on.

Let the winter begin! Are you ready?

15 comments:

mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

I just can't get too worried about freezes in this La Nina year. Also, I figure if I still have it after Jan 2010's really severe freeze, then it will survive whatever light frosts we get in the next month or so.

I am going to have to make some plan for my lemon tree, though. I put it in the ground last year and now it's five feet tall and larger than any of my plant covers.

Diana said...

MSS -- I just have WAY too many pots, many with tropicals and succulents that won't take any frost. And now my big pots have become Godzilla-like monsters, so I can't take any chances with them. In the ground - you betcha I'm with you - they are all on their own! Good luck with the lemon - those are tough when they get big.

Cyndy said...

Diana, That's a very nice setup you have! I didn't realize you'd need protection in Texas, but I suppose you get a kind of winter there :) I use a hand truck to move big pots around - nice if you can't count on ready help.

Pamie G. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mss @ Zanthan Gardens (Texas) said...

I didn't mean that YOU shouldn't be concerned with the coming frosts--only that I'm having trouble working myself up to getting prepared. I wish that I had your foresight and energy to plan ahead.

I'm very sure I will regret my unmotivated lack of enthusiasm for doing what needs to be done. In the end I'll be the one running around in a panic and cursing myself.

Diana said...

Cyndy -- We do get a few freezes. Last year several hard freezes - down to 15 and several days like that. But that's rare. Still, all it takes is one 32F!

Pamie G - Glad it didn't freeze when you were gone. I love my greenhouse - 8x10 glass with heater & fan (which you can't be without). Email me at dianackirby@gmail.com and I'll give you more details and warnings!

Diana said...

MSS - Well, my next garden article will be in tomorrow's paper - how to prepare for frosts and freezes. But remember, I was scurrying about last week thinking it was going to freeze and it was too short notice to put everything in the greenhouse, so it was sheet city at my house with dozens of little succulents everywhere inside the house. I never seem to get it right on either end. Last year took plants out of greenhouse only to have one last late freeze! Oh well.

Annie in Austin said...

It looks very neat!
The plants I try to save are stashed in an unheated garage rather than a greenhouse, Diana. The datura & plumerias drop their leaves in the garage but what happens in a greenhouse- do they stay green and bloom in winter?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Diana said...

Annie - Mine have done lots of time in garage, too. Last year was the 1st year I didn't let them go dormant in greenhouse and they did stay green all winter with heaters on cold nights and regular watering, unlike garage where you cut back while they are dormant. (Which I talk about in tomorrow's AAS article, btw)But last year I gambled & took plants out before last freeze and every single plumeria leaf fell off in March!

Lancashire rose said...

I moved a couple of plants into the greenhouse for that frost and we did have one, although it was what I call a radiation frost- only on the roof. I'm sure the real one will come. Then the sun and heat came back and my plants were saying- get me out of here. I'm trying to leave it until he last minute unit I can be sure it won't be in the 80s again. I have a 70% shade cloth over the greenhouse but it still gets very hot in there even with the extractor fan going. Like you I have way too many pots. Always planning to cut down but never managing it. I have no idea where the lemon trees are going to go but it will be inside somewhere because I'm not going to risk next years crop.

LindaCTG said...

You are smart to think ahead! I hate running around when it's freezing rain to protect the treasures that we absolutely want to preserve. Can't wait to read your story, too!

Tina Poe said...

I need to plan something for my little plumeria and little lemon tree. I wonder if they will be okay upstairs by a window. They are still small enough to move around pretty easily.

Jennifer said...

What kind of greenhouse do you have, I am getting ready to purchase one in the spring. Any suggestions?

Kate said...

I am envious of your greenhouse! How do you maintain or adjust the heat? Very cool though -

Pamie G. said...

Hi! I never got a note back from you about your greenhouse. Did you get my email? Thanks, Pamie G.