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Ice cubes in the garden?

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NHGardener
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Post  jymarino 6/3/2011, 10:17 am

Has anyone tried putting ice cubes at the base of cool weather veggies to try and keep them from bolting? Since the heat index here is going to be in the 100's today I may try this. We are going out to water right after breakfast and I'll put the ice down afterward. Hopefully my experiement will work out well.
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 6/3/2011, 10:37 am

First thing's first, heat index is a "feels like" temperature.....for humans. Just like wind chill. The plants don't feel heat index....only air temperatures. So, they won't think it's 100*, scientifically.

However, I don't know how science knows that because it's not like we can ask a plant "How hot is it?" And, every time I put a thermometer in the sun, it shoots up through the roof in a matter of minutes. Those always befuddle me.

Ice, in theory, would help bring the temps down, but for how long? That's your main concern. A few minutes won't be noticeable. However a big block of ice with shade cloth over it may help. It's not anything I've thought about trying. I'd be anxious to see how it goes.
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Post  jymarino 6/3/2011, 10:51 am

BBG -

I know that the heat index is for we humans, but since we humans tend to get our butts in gear to do something about our non-heat resistant plants when temps are really high that is why I thought of it. It is a really good thing that plants don't "feel" the heat like we do. I imagine if they get a really good drink, and their roots are really moist, they will be very comfy even in this weather. I guess it would be similar to sitting on the deck with your feet in the sun or sitting on the deck with your feet in the kid's wading pool. You "feel" cooler when your feet are in the pool, even though the actual temps are the same. This is kind of the theory behind trying the ice method. If the plants "feel" cooler they are less likely to bolt, from my understanding of how it works. So we water them all really well this morning and then put a bunch of ice around each of them. Since most of the plants have built in shade around their bases the ice won't be sitting directly in the sun and should melt a bit slowly. The hypothesis is that they will stay cooler than plants that don't have the advantage of ice.

Now that I've turned this whole thing into a homeschool science experiment I suppose I ought to have some plants that we don't give the ice to, so we can compare results. I will post on the results afterward, and if I am being organized I'll even take pictures. study Off to the lab!


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Post  Kelejan 6/3/2011, 11:14 am

What colour shade cloth would you use? Dark or light-coloured? Would it make any difference?
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Post  H_TX 6/3/2011, 11:21 am

Please keep us updated on how this works for you. I have thought about using some white tulle or maybe cheese cloth (afraid the cheese cloth will absorb some moisture from the soil) over my soil and mulch covering the square that contains my cilantro. I read that bolting is based on the soil temperature and I was hoping that some bunched up white tulle would help to shade and keep the soil cool and maybe (I know I am being extremely optimistic here) even act as a sort of heat sink to keep the soil cooler for longer into the season. I plan on getting some tulle and a soil thermometer to see it if makes any difference.
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Post  jymarino 6/3/2011, 11:23 am

I don't know that the color of the shade cloth would matter. What would matter is the amount of shade it provides. For this experiment we are not going to use a shade cloth at all. When I planned the garden I didn't put all of one type of plant in the same box, so there are sun loving plants in it as well as shade lovers to the front and side.
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Post  jymarino 6/3/2011, 11:25 am

H_TX

That is a an interesting idea, using some white tulle to try and deflect the heat. You may have given us a science experiement for next week....
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Post  FarmerValerie 6/3/2011, 12:10 pm

As the temps start to climb I feel the need to caution about watering in the AM, you may do more harm than good, as the moisture can turn to steam. However if you were unable to water in the afternoon/evening (evening is best) go ahead and water in the AM. I have watched plants that I watered in the AM actually wilt because of the heat the moisture was sending up.
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Post  H_TX 6/3/2011, 12:22 pm

I always heard that morning was the best time to water. I have soaker hoses under my mulch so I don't have to worry about getting the leaves wet and creating mildew problems. Is it best to water later in the day or early evening during the hottest months of the summer?
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Post  FarmerValerie 6/3/2011, 12:45 pm

I honestly think it depends on who you ask as to best time of day. I have to water in the AM at times, and every moring my squash, winter and summer, get a good squrit to force the squash bugs to higher ground. but they have enough coverage, the sun does not get through the leaves to heat up the ground much. I try to do most of my watering at 5PM, so I don't forget. That gives the ground enough time to soak it up so that it's not sitting with puddles overnight, which can lead to too wet roots. Many here will say water in the AM only, but down here I really recommend watering in the late afternoon or earlly evening if at all possible.
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Post  walshevak 6/3/2011, 8:59 pm

Because of the drought conditions now declared in the eastern counties of NC, the word has been put out to water in the evening to conserve.

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Post  WardinWake 6/3/2011, 9:12 pm

jymarino wrote:Has anyone tried putting ice cubes at the base of cool weather veggies to try and keep them from bolting? Since the heat index here is going to be in the 100's today I may try this. We are going out to water right after breakfast and I'll put the ice down afterward. Hopefully my experiement will work out well.
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I wonder if we were to run the coils from an old refrigerator through the Mel's Mix...... flower

God Bless, Ward and Mary.
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Post  elliephant 6/4/2011, 9:12 am

Watering in the evening down here is a sure way to invite powdery mildew.
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 6/4/2011, 10:14 am

elliephant wrote:Watering in the evening down here is a sure way to invite powdery mildew.

Agreed. Watering at 6am would accomplish about the same thing. Sometimes government makes me laugh.

JY, thanks for explaining more detail. You have thought it through more than I did. I love people that actually use that material between the ears. Too many people don't. As stated, keep us updated.
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Post  Kelejan 6/4/2011, 10:23 am

Even though we have water restriction sometimes, we are always allowed to water by hand. Is that the same where you are?

Watering by hand also includes standing there with the hosepipe. I guess they figure you can only stand there for a limited time. lol

I read somewhere that Canada has one of the highest water consumptions per capita in the world, that British Columbia is the highest using province, and that our city has the highest usage in the province. Something to be ashamed of. Eventually we will have water meters so the the profligate will pay more.

Just becasue we have the mighty Columbia River flowing through our area is no excuse to waste fresh water. I am now going out to water my beds, using a scoop of water for each plant.
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Post  westie42 6/4/2011, 4:33 pm

Never would have guessed in a million years that ice cubes could stir such a complex argumentative conversation. When I visited my son in Wyoming last summer every morning at 5:15 the apartment building lawn sprinkler system turned on and irritatingly started my day too early. So I asked him why that was necessary and the answer was well Dad during the daytime the water would vanish almost upon contact with the grass under the sun and in this arid mile high climate the grass would literally burn up. Good answer and I learned to deal with that and noticed a few lawns that did burn up. Here in Iowa watering in the late evening would not likely cause powdery mildew like in South Texas but would encourage an army of hungry bugs to come out. Just ask my toads about that. So my point is that what works well here today mite totally fail some where else today and mite not even work here shortly if conditions change. What works is to know each of your plants needs and strive to provide that with consistency. Be it heat or cool or high moisture or low, sun or shade and ideal nutrient content and levels. By the way evening is more often defined as around supper time or between 5 and 6 pm. Watering then should be safe most places. But leave it to some bureaucrat to insist differently when evening begins.
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Post  NHGardener 6/4/2011, 9:30 pm

jymarino wrote:Has anyone tried putting ice cubes at the base of cool weather veggies to try and keep them from bolting?

The funny thing is, I was thinking this exact same thought this morning. It's not hot here right now, but I end up rooting for cold weather for my peas and lettuce, and at the same time, rooting for hot weather for my beans, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants... And then I thought - I wonder if you could just put ice cubes in your soil for the peas and chill it a little.

So PLEASE let us know how your experiment works for you!

Very Happy
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Post  CindiLou 6/4/2011, 9:41 pm

I wonder if water froze in milk jugs would cool an area if you are putting shade cloth up? Hummm....
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Post  westie42 6/4/2011, 10:50 pm

You always get me thinking and too much of that according to my QiGong instructor is bad for your health. Plants lets say breathe in co2 carbon dioxide so why not use dry ice and make the plants life even more pampered. Now how could we find a reasonably priced source of co2 as dry ice. Don't hospitals basically get so much if it they have to evaporate what they cant sell off or whatever. We could have a second pipeline for cold co2 distribution next to the soaker hose. Then we would be critisized like KFC is for how they raise chickens.
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Post  jymarino 6/4/2011, 11:48 pm

But would CO2 change the chemistry of the MM? The ice will simply melt into the soil, but since dry ice isn't ice at all how would that affect it? There would likely be too much CO2 for any of the plants to absorb before it all dissipated, so I don't know that this experiement would have good results.

It sure would be fun trying it out though. Wouldn't the neighbors wonder about us then!
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Post  westie42 6/4/2011, 11:59 pm

They do already actually many do and gleefully say so. In my proposal the co2 comes from the very very cold dry ice and is at most on the ground in a controlled amount thru an orifice or nozzle. But lets just lol at the whole idea until some interprising entrepeneur is selling it online.
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Post  Goosegirl 6/5/2011, 8:12 am

NHGardener wrote:
jymarino wrote:Has anyone tried putting ice cubes at the base of cool weather veggies to try and keep them from bolting?

The funny thing is, I was thinking this exact same thought this morning. It's not hot here right now, but I end up rooting for cold weather for my peas and lettuce, and at the same time, rooting for hot weather for my beans, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants... And then I thought - I wonder if you could just put ice cubes in your soil for the peas and chill it a little.

So PLEASE let us know how your experiment works for you!

Very Happy

I've never heard of it for cooling/chilling cool crops, but I have had friends that freeze water in milk cartons for tomatoes - pop it out for a long slow watering as it melts
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Post  walshevak 6/5/2011, 8:25 am

Funny you should say that about the slow melt. I have an orchid I bought at Walmart that recommended watering by placing 2 ice cubes on top every 2 weeks. I bought it in Feb and it is still blooming. One of the biggest killers of orchids is overwatering or letting the roots stand in water. I know, I've killed a few.

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Post  NHGardener 6/5/2011, 8:43 am

Wow! Frozen containers for slow watering! That's another great idea.

It puts extra stress on your freezer to freeze those things tho, doesn't it? ($$)
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Post  Goosegirl 6/5/2011, 9:19 am

NHGardener wrote:Wow! Frozen containers for slow watering! That's another great idea.

It puts extra stress on your freezer to freeze those things tho, doesn't it? ($$)

No more so than the 11 quarts of BBQ beans I just froze, or the 11 pints of pumpklin, or the 1/4 beef, or the 80 lbs of boneless chicken breasts, or yadda yadda yadda.....

a full freezer is more efficient than an empty one, so I say LOAD IT UP!!!!!

GG
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