Irrigation in cold weather

Jane McGary
Fri, 25 Jan 2008 13:53:27 PST
I'd like advice on irrigation of winter-growing bulbs during periods of 
cold weather. Here we've just had five or six days of sub-freezing 
temperatures. Beginning today, the temperatures are moderating and are 
expected to be a few degrees above freezing for at least one week.

As I recently mentioned, I grow most of my bulbs in unheated frames, where 
the temperature rises a little during sunny days even when the ambient 
temperature is sub-freezing. (The frame light structures are vented at the 
bottom.) Today many of the pots (which are plunged to near the rims in 
sand) seemed to me to be less moist than they should be at this stage of 
the plants' growth, although there is a little moisture in the lower part 
of the soil, where the roots are.

Should I water the plants now, even though they may be exposed to 
sub-freezing air temperatures at night? Or should I wait a few days until 
it begins to rain again -- meaning that it will not freeze at night, and 
the plants won't have bright sun on their foliage? Are they safer in 
circum-freezing temperatures when a little on the dry side, or when fully 

Apologies to those who get this from both PBS and Alpine-L.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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