Sunday, May 16, 2010

The usual babble...

I found this little tidbit in "Root Cellaring"...

A low temperature of 28-31*F is considered a Light Frost
A low temperature of 24-28*F is considered  a Moderate Frost
Anything below 24*F is considered a Severe Frost

Sending hubby out to get some supplies. I planned to go myself, but he wants to just go and get back i guess. Either that or he watches the kids while i go out, or he waits for me to pack up and unpack the little one at each stop while we are out.  I agree his going would be the simplest.  Just that when he goes out to get stuff i don't always end up with the exact thing i intended him to get. I try to send him out with item numbers and everything, but there is often a little snag like the quantity i want isn't available or maybe it comes in a different color than i needed, or maybe its cheaper in a different size so he goes for it-- but when he gets home, i say that the option was not interchangeable..,

I hope that does not happen this time. lol

I need him to go to Staples or any office supply store and get a few boxes of large binder clips. They are 2" wide and hold up to 1" thickness. I think they will make good row cover clips for the hoops. The hoops are 1/2" interior diameter and i think about 3/4"  outside diameter.  They run about $3.70 for a box of 12. Four boxes should be enough for now.  I expect them to rust a bit and to not be very gentle on the Remay fabric, so i plan to cut some paddings of either synthetic fleece fabric or even use some of the heavy  gauge clear vinyl i have lying around.  The fleece will hold some moisture, the vinyl won't... i'll test it out as i go.
I also need some clothesline rope. Cotton would be best, but i think the kind that looks much like plastic raffia might be fine. As long as it is not the type that looks like the plastic version of metal cable.... but i think i might want to run the rope across the tops of the hoops- like a spine, to prevent the center sections from sagging. Too much sagging will cause billowing and movement when the wind blows. Billowing could chafe either the plants or the fabric and it also catches wind which might allow thew whole contraption to get airborne.  At the least, i will need some soft rope to gather and tie the row cover material to close off the ends. I think if i tie it in a tight bow i will be able to loosen it so when i lift  up a few feet of the sides i will have enough give.
I may need to fashion some sort of cotter pin anchor to the end hoops for insurance against this. I think a hole drilled through both hoop ends and the sockets and pinned with a simple galvanized nail will do it.

The final thing i need is a pack of grease pencils. They also call them China markers. The pull-string-and-peel-away type. They are great for marking plant tags and for making notes on calender pages tucked into plastic binder sleeves. I want assorted colors, but searching Staples' website, they only sell them one color at a time, by the dozen... although the assorted color packs exist, it looks like they don't carry them... unless its just not listed onsite.

We'll see how he does ;o)

I was thinking about using leftover plastic grocery bags for sandbags to tie down the row cover fabric. I'm not sure how well it will work (because smooth plastic is slippery) so that is another thing i'll have to see about when we get to it. I might not need bags at all if the row clips work well enough. Herrick Kimbal over at Wizbang, uses his home made, giant, wooden clothespins for his hoops. I'm not sure how windy it has ever gotten on him, but he seems to have good luck with 2 clips per hoop.

Both types of cucumber seed and the salsify are all coming up fast under lights...

1pm update.

I ended up going shopping for the stuffs i needed. It was probably a good thing since it was enough trouble for me.
I went to Staples and i looked through the pen & pencil aisle, didn't find the grease pencil/China marker by looking myself. So i asked for help, and they thought it might be in the art and classroom stuff aisle,  i saw the charcoal pencils there that look almost the same... but they weren't there either.
So i figured i could just get them at another Office supply store, but i might as well get the binder clips while i was at Staples.
Well the binder clips were easy to find, but they were $4.99 a package! --and there were only 2 boxes on the shelf Online price is $3.49 a package...  So now i was just mad. I planned to get 4 packages of the binder clips and i was going to be a fair amount more than i had been led to believe it would be.
So i put my empty basket away and went to walk out the door, and the man at the register noticed and asked me if i wasn't able to find what i needed.  I told him about the pencils and the price on the binder clips. He told me that they price match, which i knew- but other stores make you print out the price at home then bring it in. I hadn't done that cause i wasn't expecting to need it,  but Staples does not make you do this.  That was soooo cool!  So anyway, he was able to find my pencils and 4 boxes of binder clips, they price matched and if they hadn't done that it would have cost me another $9.00 because the pencils were also more at the store- but price-matched to the online listing.
So as weird as it was, i'm glad i went because hubby would have just taken the 2 boxes of clips, given up on the pencils and would not have known about the price matching.

I went to the Dollar Tree for the rope. I decided that their plastic raffia type clothesline rope would be best since it won't swell when it gets wet like cotton rope will. Since i plan to gather the row cover at the ends (kind of like a covered wagon) and tie it like a ponytail right at ground level, i will be easier to untie without soggy and swollen rope. The soft, plastic rope will stay dry.
The Tree also had it in 3 colors, so i thought i could color-code the rows,..  if i instruct my older daughter to help me weed the "blue row" i won't find her untying the "yellow row". Eh, it might make a difference, if not- it all costs the same.
I also got a couple cotton nets they had there.  They are decorative nets, for hosting a Luau....   but i'm going to try them, they are 6'x8' and if they work even for the 3-4 months i will need them, it will be great. If not, i'm only out a few dollars and i'll have to buy nylon ones next year before everyone is out of them like they are now. Hah!

But it looks like the row covers might not get done today or at least in the next couple hours because hubby is taking a nap.
But he did set up the little weather station he bought me :
Its so cool!   We will need to put the wind sensor in a better place later because the overgrown cedar baffles the breeze too much in the area that the sensor is in. We have had some big gusts that it hasn't 'felt'.

Oh, the recently planted seeds update-  Yes the cucumbers and the salsify have come up, but so have the Yellow Pear tomatoes, the Rocky Ford melon and the Sundance summer squash.


Faith said...

I've had good luck holding my fabric with regular clothes pins, but that was in a different situation. Mine was wrapped around my grapes, mummy fashion, the ends rolled together and held by the pins, so no air could really get inside.

I love the WhizBang guy. LOL He's always got some new idea. :o)

I've also used those clips you bought for many situations. Including holding pool liners up when the top rails were missing, holding hoses up and still... handy things.

I love the parting comment on your link, "Rain sold separately." LOL


icebear said...

The weather center meter thingie has been really great, i wonder if they make the readout module in a watch version so i can wear it around. I like to see what is going on out there all the time.
Yeah, the 'rain sold separately' sounds pretty funny!

The Wizbang guy's tutorial on the row covers was probably my biggest encouragement source for technical how-to. He sort of proved to me in a public way that i wasn't crazy and i wasn't the only one who wants to do this too.

Protection from cutworms and fleabeetles and carrotfly, and tomato hornworms.... sounded good to me!