Some frits are waking up

Jane McGary
Tue, 03 Mar 2009 17:48:20 PST
Rodger wrote,
English gardeners who kept tender plants in frames (cyclamen, iirc) placed a
>single layer of newspaper over them before shutting the frames down when
>serious cold threatened.

I did that a couple of times before I got the big 
roll of microfoam. The newspaper absorbs moisture 
and turns into a real mess. It probably does 
protect the plants, but then you have this huge 
stack of sodden newspaper that you can't do much 
with, unless you use it for mulch in the 
vegetable garden -- a practice I have never 
thought quite advisable owing to the chemicals in newsprint.
He adds

>Following that line of reasoning leads me to 
>believe that the size of frames is
>important: individually they should be as wide and long as you can afford
>wothout making access to the back or middle overly awkward.
>What are the dimensions of your frames, Jane?
>Mine are 48×32" boxes made of thick yellow cedar with Coroplast covers.

Three of them are 40 feet by 4 feet and two are 
40 feet by 5 feet. The bases are made out of 
railroad ties (Brit. sleepers) and the lights on 
the old ones are plexiglas, and on the newer 
ones, polycarbonate, on A-frame structures that 
open to both sides. I think having the frames 
vented on both sides is very good for air 
circulation, though I had to pay carpenters to 
accomplish this, and it's easier on the back to 
reach in from either side toward the middle. The 
bases stand about 18 inches (45 cm) high and are 
filled with coarse sand as a plunge medium. There 
are pictures of them in "Rock Garden Design and Construction."

So they are pretty large, but also pretty 
accessible. I live in the country and had a whole open field to put them in.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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