How to Design a Year Round Solar Greenhouse

BR 2012

BR 2012

 

Here is a good idea for your west coast winter project !

This article in Mother Earth News has a fantastic overview of the main considerations for a
passively heated green house design.

How to Design a Year-Round Solar Greenhouse

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Book Review – “A Gardener’s Guide to Frost” by Philip Harnden

Photo by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK

Photo by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK

Another fall/winter activity for Plant Growers in the off season…. reading.

“A Gardener’s Guide to Frost” by Philip Harnden ( ISBN 1-57223-576-4 ) is flowing, wonderful to read book with lots of great frosty garden pictures. Covering a complete set of topics exploring a vegetable gardener’s relationship to frost including interesting chapters on Forecasting Frost, Fending Off Frost, and a listing of Frost Tolerant Garden Vegetables.

For those of us on Vancouver Island, “A Gardener’s Guide to Frost” is in the VIRL book collection.

Vancouver Island Frost Watch

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According Farmer’s Almanac Naniamo gets an average of 171 frost free days, and the frost free growing season starts on April 28th. Further south in Victoria the average frost free date is April 19th. Expect a first frost around the beginning of November.

Of course many vegetable and herb plants can tolerate frost. Here is listing of Frost Tolerance of Vegetables to help you get started.

 

It is always interesting to see how Vancouver Island compares to the rest of Canada for frost free dates and growing season length, here is a handy table put out by the Farmer’s Almanac for various Canadian cities.

 

Overwintering Bay Laurel on Vancouver Island

A flush of new spring growth on a Bay Laurel

A flush of new spring growth on a Bay Laurel

Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis) is an evergreen tree native to southern Europe. It has a long history as a culinary and sacred herb. Growing this wonderful Mediterranean herb on Vancouver Island is not difficult, but it requires a little extra care to get it through the winter.

Key Points to Consider

Bay is considered a half hardy perennial in our climatic zone, so unprotected outdoor overwintering is a bit of a gamble.

Young Bay plants, less than five years old, are considerably less hardy than mature plants.

Bay is shallow rooted, so heavy frosts may damage it’s root system.

Bay foliage is damaged in the winter by cold temperatures and wind that produce low humidity conditions that cause the leaves and smaller stems to die back.

Overwintering Outdoors

The first line of defense is to select a sunny protected area with well drained soil for your Bay plant. In the winter, mulch to help protect the root system from frost.

If temperatures are expected to go below -5C cover the entire plant with frost cloth or burlap to help protect the foliage.

Plants may suffer cold or wind damage to the current season’s growth, which can be pruned out in the spring. If the worst happens and a ground-planted bay seems to have all of it’s foliage killed off, prune it back and be patient, there is a good possibility that it will put up new shoots.

Potted Bay Laurel that is going to be kept outdoors, should have the entire pot buried in a sheltered corner of your garden. Then mulch and cover it as described above.

Overwintering Indoors

Potted Bay Laurel that can be moved indoors should be kept in an area that does not go below -5C and near a window for a bit of light. Water your indoor bay very sparingly ( 1 – 3 times per month ), do not fertilize it and keep an eye out for pests. While we are on the subject of Pests, it is also advisable to carefully check over your Bay and remove any pests before bringing it inside. While inside keep it well away from your houseplants to minimize an exchange of pests.

Well that is all for this year …. Happy Holidays !

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Roast-Turkey-with-Oranges-Bay-Leaves-Red-Onions-and-Pan-Gravy-105729