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Dog-food bag frost protection

Frost protecting apple blooms

Spring freezes always make me wish I could just send up a dome to enclose our entire core homestead. Since Mark hasn't yet invented such a device, I'm stuck choosing which plants to protect with the materials we have on hand.

Apple critical temperatures

This year, we're trying something new to me but that my mother has used to good result in years past --- plastic dog-food bags. (Yes, some of my bags started with chicken feed or cover-crop seeds inside them, but you know what I'm talking about.)

Protecting tree flowers

The bags are a little tricky to pull over tree limbs without knocking flower buds off, and I opted to tie each one partway closed in hopes the wind won't catch inside and yank yet more plant parts free. But I have high hopes that the still-air pocket created will protect blooms from the upcoming freezes and that the bag will still be breathable enough that it will be okay to leave them on for the solid week of cold we've got ahead.

High-density apples

As you can see, I only covered a small subset of my apple limbs. Partly that's because I ran out of bags and partly that's because I want a control just in case the bags make matters worse rather than better. Stay tuned for June.

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In a high wind, these bags offer maybe too much air resistance, and might snap the slight branches. I actually tried covering the whole small tree with improvised blankets, some of which got unpinned in the wind. And I did knock off at least one good blossom in the process. the dog food I get comes in zippered bags, so the bags can be pulled closed, which does help hold them on.
Comment by adrianne Sun Apr 3 09:27:13 2016
A warm early spring can fool the plants and gardener in to a sense of complacency!
Comment by Eric Sun Apr 3 15:29:42 2016
Hopefully you won't get any ice or snow accumulations on the bags.
Comment by Brian Mon Apr 4 11:46:21 2016

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime