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Re:Cold Frames

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re:Cold Frames
  • From: Kathy Haggstrom <hagg@alaska.net>
  • Date: Tue, 2 Dec 1997 01:24:06 -0700 (MST)

To Marte: The advantage of cold frames in very cold climates lies
primarily in what you plan to use them for, tho I don't ever think
they're a bad idea. For extending the season/vegetable growing they are
very useful, & that is why there is more literature on that aspect. It
is a different question for growing perennials from seed. 1)Are you
trying to hasten maturity to get a salable plant in a shorter amount of
time(getting a jump start on the season)?  2)Are you trying to cut down
on mortality rate of seeds/seedlings in harsh spring weather? 3)Are you
trying to grow plants that are marginal in your natural climate? For
considerations 2&3 they are, of course, helpful (tho a plant that falls
in category 3 might have to stay in the cold frame!) Consideration #1 is
a little different I think & has to be broken down into two parts: If
you're wanting to sell your plants their first year from seed, then I'd
say "Yes", cold frames will be very helpful. The bigger, more mature the
better. If you're looking to speed up their maturation process for
breeding purposes, then you'll have to look to see if it really gives
you an extra year or not (will it produce a bloom to cross pollinate a
season earlier or not?) For breeding you'd probably have to think in
terms of seasons instead of weeks like you can for plant sale. I'm not
sure what you have in mind for the cold frame :-). I was only relating
to what use it would be for me starting I. setosa seeds earlier. It may
be different for you, but I can only think in terms of seasons in my
zone. Either it will bloom the second or third year, there isn't much
gray area. If it would produce a blooming plant one yr earlier, it would
be an advantage worth seeking out, & I'd give it a big "Yes". Otherwise
the only advantage (which is still pretty good), might lie primarily in
the fact that it may give you a huskier plant w/more blooms to work with
the next year instead of an actual earlier bloom. Like I said, tho, I'm
not sure of your situation. That's just the consideration I'd have to
make for my own seed growing. And, if you do - yes, plastic instead of
glass,(if costs are comparable-one can never pass up a good deal). You
mentioned Elk in your neighborhood. If they're anything like Moose,
their hooves are glass magnets. Sounds like you get some howler winds up
on your mountain & that is probably another good consideration for a
cold frame that I don't need to make.  
Kathy Haggstrom
Anch, AK
Zone 3

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