We usually get our first freeze here right after Thanksgiving. Right on time, the last two nights have seen us below freezing 6 hours of the night with a low of 26 degrees. This year has seen us extremely busy and I didnt get a chance to get our freeze protection up until today. Sadly the last two nights burned alot of leaves on our mangoes…but nothing that they wont recover from.
We have been growing mangoes and other tropicals for 4 years now. In our area we see many nights of below freezing weather. Our solution is to build these straw bale shelters around the trees and top them with a dual layer of frost cloth. Inside the shelter we have C-9 christmas lights to provide heat. The lights are controlled buy a temperature controller that switches the lights on at 34 degrees.
Anyway it gave us an excuse to play with the tractor…The structures arent done, but I thought the beginnings of it might make a interesting photo essay.
You northern nutballs trying to grow figs/pomegranates/persimmons in zones too cold for such things ought to take note. There is no reason such a system shouldnt work for you. Using this system we have protected trees all the way down to 12 degrees.
I cant see why it wouldnt. Especially with something thats simply borderline for northern growers like persimmon or in the far north, peaches. I mean in that case you dont need to prevent freezing, just extreme low temps.
Thanks you all, love figs too and do not have any yet. I would love a Violette de Bordeaux. Think I’ll look into it this spring. I have a potting shed and a garage (unheated) l but really don’t want to haul it in and out every year; so the hay bales would be great or insulating the tree during the winter.
The insulation value of bales of straw is huge. But I wont kid anyone that it has a few downsides. Its messy messy messy, the bales are heavy when dry, really heavy if they get wet (which they will). Straw bales sitting around in the off season tend to encourage vermin. We saw dozens of mice nests in our straw squeeze as we took it down today, along with tons of bugs and other stuff thats attracted to the slowly composting material.
Because of this I cant see people using it in a residential setting. It works fine out here on our little farm tho. Vermin and mice just give our barn cats something to do.
Interesting idea Amadio. I agree bales have very good insulation value. Googled it for the heck of it and the R value is about 2R per inch (although this varies greatly w/ the amount of moisture in the bales). I don’t know anything about mangos, but I bet the trees you use them on are nice and cozy w/ the straw bales and christmas lights.
Love the pics of your orchard and tractor. That little tractor looks super handy for tight spots. I want it.
It is a handy little tractor. Its named “peaches” because the proceeds from last years peach sales paid for it. Its small size and hydrostatic transmission is only a issue on big tasks like plowing and disking. It will do both, but it strains the tractor and the job done is only mediocre. It really shines as a bucket tractor and for doing odd jobs. We picked up a PTO wood chipper for it, I just pull the tractor into the orchard as im trimming and feed branches into the chipper. Super handy.
Up until we bought this a few months ago I did everything around here by hand or with my old walking tractor. But as I age it was just kicking my butt to a unreasonable level. Im glad to know that if I had to, that I can and know how to grow everything here sans machinery. But im sure glad today for some mechanical help.
We have been looking around for a 50 or 60s era 30-40 hp diesel tractor to handle the plowing/disking. My wife is very partial to Internationals because her daddy worked for International his whole life. Its been hard to find because not many of them made it out this way. Until then Peaches gets it done.
I usually pick up my straw bales from a farm that does a maze for kids (and adults) around Halloween. Beginning of Nov they have their straw bales for sale at $2/bale. They have seen weather, but if you are using them for mulch it doesn’t matter much.
Lol im the worse zone stretcher i know. We are technically zone 5b and i grow trifoliata oranges, jujube, figs, date persimmons , pawpaw outside. I tried to grow pomegranite, kiwi, che, western prickly pear cactus outside. Some friends refer to me as the terra former because they know i will reshape landscape and go to great lengths at times to grow things. I try to get something like oranges to grow outside and once i find seedlings hardy enough i breed them again until i have ones that dont need protection.if only the manshoo banana was edible. Btw i kept the pomegranite alive for one yesr outside. Those russian pomegranite are tough.