Author Topic: Courgettes I am an idiot  (Read 602 times)

Digeroo

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Courgettes I am an idiot
« on: April 21, 2017, 15:05:25 »
Thought the weather has done its worse so planted out some courgettes, they are covered in plastic bottles and surrounded with manure, up to above leaf level.

Now looking at next weeks weather I can not decide whether to cover them up or dig them up and bring them back into the house.

Do you think straw will be enough?  Could then cover with a compost bin at night there are several rolling around on site and I have a couple with not much in them.       


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Re: Courgettes I am an idiot
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2017, 15:12:19 »
If they are outside, I don't think there is much chance of them surviving tbh. Even if you keep the frost off them they'll still be dropping down to ambient temperature and some below freezing temps are being forecast  :cussing:

galina

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Re: Courgettes I am an idiot
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2017, 15:42:27 »
Two layers of fleece or newspaper topped with fleece should do the trick.  They may be held back, but should survive. 

To save you from having to resow, I actually would dig up just a couple and protect the others.  :wave:

caroline7758

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Re: Courgettes I am an idiot
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2017, 16:51:38 »
Have only just sown my first courgettes and was thinking it might be a bit early! But I am in Yorkshire! :happy7:

ACE

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Re: Courgettes I am an idiot
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2017, 17:36:09 »
Just pop them back in their pots for a few weeks, even down here we are expecting some cold weather, I did notice the summer cabbage has white edges to the leaves so it is dropping to far down at night. No frosts but still cold enough for damage.

ancellsfarmer

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Re: Courgettes I am an idiot
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2017, 18:29:52 »
Cover em up with the compost bin, having covered with fleece/newspaper. Then go home and sow some more. After all, you can't have too many courgettes....!!!!
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Digeroo

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Re: Courgettes I am an idiot
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2017, 20:01:12 »
I have several more on the windowsill and will sow some more next week. 
The plants outside are noticeably bigger than the  remaining plants.

I have got two wheel barrows full of straw and another of manure. 

I think you are right Galina I think I will dig up two, and insulated the rest.

Last year was the first time in many years I have not have courgettes in May or early June.  In fact it was August before I got any!!  The rest were simply slug food.



gray1720

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Re: Courgettes I am an idiot
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2017, 21:02:18 »
I keep my courgettes in as late as I can (often, mind you, because I haven't had time to plant them) and my neighbour, who puts his out extra-early and gets them toasted by the frost every year, still beats me to a crop...

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Tee Gee

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Re: Courgettes I am an idiot
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2017, 23:02:28 »
Tip from my Dahlia growing days:

If frost was predicted after I had planted out I would get up at the crack of dawn and go out with a pump spray filled with cold water and spray the plants before the sun got on to them.

It is the sun that does more damage than the frost i e the leaves warm up to quickly and rupture.

Spraying them thaws the frost on the leaves more slowly and prevents the leaves rupturing.

Yes! I remember the days of running up the garden in my Jim jams and spraying my dahlias at the crack of dawn.........I wonder if any of my neighbours ever saw me :glasses9:

Vinlander

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Re: Courgettes I am an idiot
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2017, 11:39:24 »
Another technique that will prevent frost damage:

Water as a heat sink ... fill 2L clear bottles with water - enough to closely ring the plants with them - use plastic & fleece layers over the whole lot to tie it together and keep the cold air out. You are basically making one of those water cloches but with a lot more water and durability (& a lot less money: another good, simple idea destroyed by idiotically greedy pricing of something identical to disposable packaging - like rootrainers). Yes, you can use air pillow chains filled with water, they'e just a bit more fiddly.

The heat sink has two effects:

A) It is the most efficient (passive) way to ensure your plants track the average 24hr temperature and shrug off spring frosts completely. BUT if the average temperature is low enough to 'stop' the plants then it will just put them into suspended animation.

You can take the edge off this by moving the 2L bottles away whenever the day is warm (to somewhere hot & sunny, or even a windowsill), and replacing them with a normal cloche (5L bottle) that will warm up faster, putting the water bottles back as the day cools. Heavy wire twisted round their necks to hold them in a ring makes this much easier (ie. like epicycles - think spirograph).

B) It is the most efficient active way to stop the temperature dropping below 1C. To freeze water a LOT of heat has to move OUT of it - the same amount of heat going in would raise the water to 80C. 

This effect is so powerful that it's possible (with more water and more lagging) to keep a plant frost-free through the whole of a UK winter.

It sounds crazy but it's true - New Englanders (hot summers but really cold winters) have been using oil-drums of water in their cold frames since oil-drums became available.

I've used this to keep strawberry guavas fruiting in a cold frame all year round (but I didn't do enough prep to cope with a 100 year low like December 2010).

Cheers.
With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

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Jayb

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Re: Courgettes I am an idiot
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2017, 07:02:44 »
Two layers of fleece or newspaper topped with fleece should do the trick.  They may be held back, but should survive. 

To save you from having to resow, I actually would dig up just a couple and protect the others.  :wave:

I think this is what I'd do, it covers most bases  :happy7:

I haven't planted my courgettes out yet, they are in pots in the greenhouse, I'll cover with a cloche and fleece if needed. I haven't the will to be carrying things back and forth to the house. 
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Digeroo

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Re: Courgettes I am an idiot
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2017, 08:35:41 »
They have survived one frost.

You are right about the water Vinlander each now has 5 litres next to them thank you.  The other theory is that if the water freezes then the water at the bottom of the bottle will be at 4 C.  Water is odd because it has a maximum density at 4C so hence fish etc can survive below ice.  Also when water freezes it gives out heat.    I have always found that an oddity.

One year I had some in the garden and dashed out at 2 am with a hot waterbottle for my courgettes.  Managed to get them through -6.  But cannot do that at allotments.  And I was not wearing a frilly nightdress.


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Re: Courgettes I am an idiot
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2017, 08:41:04 »
  And I was not wearing a frilly nightdress.
Thank goodness for that, or it wouldn't just have been courgettes that got nipped by the cold!  :tongue3:

Digeroo

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Re: Courgettes I am an idiot
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2017, 20:59:26 »
Well they are all tucked up.  Straw, compost bin, water in a bottle, and a full watering can or bucket of comfrey tea.  Perhaps the smell with keep the frost at bay.

Digeroo

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Re: Courgettes I am an idiot
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2017, 05:09:01 »
So far so good.  They are looking good.

But I am now off on my hols, so no one to tuck them in at night.   It was surprising warm inside the compost bins when I took them off.  They are still surrounded by manure and bottles of water.

I remembered the slug pellets this year.  Last year they all got eaten. 

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Re: Courgettes I am an idiot
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2017, 05:09:01 »

 

anything