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Re: CULT: cola bottle heat sinks

Linda, my husband and I use that method to start tomato plants early in the spring, except we use gallon plastic water bottles.
Francelle, Glendale, AZ  zone 9
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: linda Mann 
  To: iris-talk 
  Sent: Thursday, November 02, 2000 7:50 AM
  Subject: [iris-talk] CULT: cola bottle heat sinks

  I got the idea from the 'wall o water' freeze protection dohickeys sold
  to protect early tomatos.  It takes a lot of energy for water to freeze,
  so the way it works is by providing a microclimate right around the
  rhizome that cools off and heats up more slowly than the surrounding
  air.  This is just enough to make a difference in my garden, which is in
  a low area (valley) where cold air settles and stays and where the sun
  doesn't shine till late in the day.  And this region is subject to long
  periods of growth encouraging warmth followed by hard freezes during the
  winter and early spring.

  I use three one liter cola bottles, lying on their sides to make a
  triangle around the rhizome.  It doesn't always work - if it gets too
  cold too abruptly they can still get zapped and it usually doesn't help
  once the stalks have started showing and are above the bottles.  

  The greatest benefit is in preventing damage BEFORE the stalks are
  showing.  Reemay would have the same benefit, but I find that it warms
  things too much too early and that I run into problems with emerged
  stalks (hard to protect with Reemay once they are well above the ground)
  getting frozen because they started growing too soon.  With Reemay, I
  find I have to cover and uncover the plants depending on the outdoor
  temperature (cover if lows are below about 28, uncover during the day if
  it gets much above freezing) in order to keep them in synch with the
  season, starting in mid-March, lasting till sometime in April.  Too much

  So, while the bottles don't work perfectly, and don't work at all for
  some cultivars, they seem to help this particular cultivar.

  Linda Mann east Tennessee USA zone 7/8
  For tomatos, a nice raised bed with both cola bottles and Reemay lets me
  get tomatos started nearly two months ahead outdoors - leave Reemay on
  till soil is warm and plants are fighting to get out <g>  Last safe
  frost free day for me is May 1 - I can safely set out plants in March
  with this setup.

  I said:
  > > and by leaving
  > >               <cola bottles full of water around the base of the plant during the
  > >               <winter/early spring, even manages to have bloom stalks survive the late
  > >               <freezes here some years.
  > > 
  > >               How does this work? What size bottles do you use and how close together do
  > >               you put them?
  > >               Sally
  > >               SE NY State
  > >               Zone 6

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