Saturday, November 21, 2015

COMPLETE AND UTTER MADNESS

The mention of a freeze tonight sent this household into plant protection overdrive. Was it yesterday that it was 75°? Not so today. A bright sunny day but with a howling wind which precedes the cold front expected tonight. In the hill country they are predicting it will drop into the 20s and we are sited right on the very edge. I expect the temperature to drop below 32°
Some plants merit special treatment. The calamondin orange, loaded with ripening fruit. The only one of my citrus to produce fruit this year because of you know what.



The sticks of fire Euphorbia was already showing signs of the temperature change. All the new growth that has not had time to make chlorophyll is bright yellow and beginning to turn red. It can come in the house for the winter.


The greenhouse is the winter resting place for all kinds of cactus and succulents. Those that can withstand colder temperatures go in there.



The roof is partially covered by the cross vine which offers some protection and then the edges of the benches are lined with milk, wine and water bottles filled with water. You'd be surprised how much that water heats up on a sunny day. The thermal mass help to keep things above freezing. There is a small back-up heater which will come on if it gets too cold.


More tender plants go in the potting shed which is insulated. The huernias all hang on the wall and those that like a little more sun go on the bench in the west-facing window.


The citrus are on the floor. Then there is the garage. The truck will spend the winter outside.



And a few cactus in the house.


Alas, the Agave desmettiana chose the wrong time to send up a flower. I have never seen a successful flowering yet and the only other one that tried to flower did so at the same time of year and the frost got before the flowers opened. This plant was so severely damaged in the spring hail but I just hadn't dealt with it. It was not going to go out quietly. Fingers crossed that it will survive the night.


Hang in there peas, broccoli, pak choi, arugula, radish, onions, carrots, and all other plants spending this cold night outside.

16 comments:

  1. Omigosh. If a freeze like what is forecast for you happened at my house, it would be surrounded by deep doo-doo, one big slimy ugly mess because there are succulents just like yours in pots and in the ground all over the place. I would say "good luck" but you have made your own fortune by working so swiftly to get all these beauties in your house or garage or at least undercover. Wishing you success with the plants and warmth inside if there is any room left. You've certainly had a bummer year weatherwise.

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  2. They all look beautiful inside or out. I covet your greenhouse and those terrific benches. Do the plants in the garage get much light during the winter?

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    1. There are a couple of windows in there so they are not in total darkness and on warmer days I will open the doors.

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  3. We were busy doing similar activities yesterday...deciding what should go where in what seems to be a shrinking greenhouse, as everything that usually gets a protected spot has grown larger. Being a bit closer to town, our temperatures "only" got down to right above freezing last night, but tonight is supposed to be colder yet. Anything we overlooked will have one last chance at cover and potential salvation.

    These early short random freezing spells frustrate me though I'm sure there are benefits I fail to appreciate. I'd rather not have everything browning out this early in the season when there are rafts of warm days yet to occur. That said, it is good to get things tucked away for the season. In other years I've played the "in and out" game, trying to milk the last few days of warmth and growth out of plants before acknowledging they are done for the year. Move them all once and let the chips fall is a better way to go, and the focus now can be on planning and bed prep for the future.

    Happy Winter, Rock Rose!

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    1. Swings in weather are always difficult. I have a few things covered outside but they will eventually go into the garage. For some reason I have even more pots this year.

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  4. I'm sure some of those were a challenge to move! Hey, the garage still has space for dozens more plants -- that spacing is a luxury that I've never had! I did the same as you, moving the last of my pots indoors in the howling cold wind. It was a little nicer after the rain/sleet mix stopped falling.

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    1. Fortunately my husband is a trooper but how much longer can this go on I wonder. And there are still more plants to go inside the garage. I can tell you it was pretty chilly getting in the truck this morning.

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  5. They look all snug and happy in their winter homes. We were busy on the same task yesterday although at 41F, not nearly as cold as predicted. We are well prepared for tonight when it should get colder. Then it will warm up again but the plants are in for a few months.

    We are setting up a greenhouse and I plan to use your water bottle technique. It's near an electrical outlet just in case.

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    1. Every year when we empty the bottles out I think my recycling guy must wonder if we had a big party. Sometimes when we get very cold there is ice in the milk jugs has some ice but I feel good that they give of heat as they freeze. I think it would work very well for you in SA as I don't think you get the frosts we do.

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  6. One of the more onerous chores of fall is moving everything in for protection. Its opposite is the joy in spring when you can take them back out again.

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    1. Ha! Les. Out and then in and then out and in again and then finally out.

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  7. You're lucky to have several places for sheltering things. But then, you have a lot to shelter.

    We sheltered things on the porch. Had already brought in the ones that needed to come inside.
    We've already had temps in the mid 30s. Last night was 30 degrees, and tonight should be colder.

    Drive-by freezes, I call them. Come in, zap things, and move on back to the 70s.

    Always fun, gardening in the Hill Country. Stay warm....

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    1. Yes, i have things on the porches too and even some things under blankets. All will be in before Thanksgiving and then I will have to water them more, especially those int he greenhouse.

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  8. Everything looks tidy and safe tucked away for the winter. I count on our frost-free status quo here but, freak conditions do occur once a decade or so - I can't imagine losing all my succulents in one fell swoop.

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  9. Wow - you had your work cut out for you. Everything looks nice and cozy :-)

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  10. Amazing how quickly the weather and the temps can change. Know I know the water bottle trick should I ever have greenhouse. I have two orchids which is the extent of my indoor plants!

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