Winter sowing geophytes

Jane McGary
Wed, 24 Dec 2008 15:12:16 PST
Erin asked about winter protection in USDA Z8, writing
  Since the promised cool greenhouse has not been built that means
>lots of covering and uncovering of plants.

One of the few advantages of not being married is that you don't have 
to wait until your husband builds what he has promised. I can't build 
anything much, but even I can build coldframes or, if I want fancy 
ones (such as four of the five I use now), I can hire a carpenter to 
build them. I wrote a chapter on bulb frames (which can also host 
seedlings, seed pots, and alpines) in the book "Rock garden design 
and construction." It recently went down to 14 degrees F here and I 
have been snowed in (literally, can't go anywhere, many roads and 
highways closed by ice, power often failed, etc.) for 8 days now. I 
laid microfoam sheet insulation over the bulbs in the frames and shut 
them, and I expect to lose only a small number of species, based on 
previous (though shorter) cold snaps. The frames also allow one to 
control the annual moisture cycle, which would be important for Erin 
if she wants to grow Mediterranean bulbs in Georgia. A frame is just 
a box with some kind of clear cover on it.

Just make the frame deep enough so that you can leave the cover on 
when the plants are at their full height, and put something under it 
to keep out burrowing rodents.

Jane McGary

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