Season Starter Plant Protectors
It might not be very Zen to rush your garden’s produce, but it sure is gratifying to speed the first ripe tomatoes and peppers to harvest time by a month. And now gardeners everywhere can extend their growing season, planting earlier and continuing to harvest long after the first frost.
Season Starter employs a simple concept to insulate plants against the cold. Like a polar fleece jacket, the Season Starter holds in heat to extend your growing season by two full months. It wraps around your plant to keep dipping temperatures from hurting the developing leaves and produce.
Season Starter is a transparent plastic teepee made up of several long cylinders that together hold 3 gallons of water. You place it on level ground, fill each of the cylinders 2/3 of the way full with water (it helps if your garden is near a garden hose, but it’s not required if you can carry watering cans), and then allow it to sit for a few days or longer to warm up the soil. Then, transplant your young plants inside the shelter.
The transparent plastic allows sunlight to reach the plants. The heat of the sun is captured and stored by the water in the tubes and it keeps the entire structure warmer throughout the cooler night temperatures, releasing the heat to the interior. It’s almost like having a mini-greenhouse around your garden plants.
You can plant a full month prior to your last frost date of the spring, even when the ground is still covered in frost crystals. The Season Starter heats up the soil, making it workable when you’re ready to plant. You can harvest produce a full month past the first frost of fall, as well. Season Starters protect plants against temperatures well below freezing!
Filled, the Season Starters measure approximately 18 inches in diameter by 18 inches tall. Empty, they take up virtually no room in storage. Season Starters can be used year after year.
Ideal plants for this method of early planting are herbs, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and melons. One caveat is that the Season Starter can tip over and crush plants as you’re filling the tubes with water, so it is recommended that you fill it before you plant. The standing wall of water will be ready for seedlings to be planted in the ground, in the interior. Or, you can set up the Season Starter after planting if you place a bucket or wire cage support around the seedling in the interior as you fill, allowing the teepee shape to become balanced and centered. Fill each of the 18 tubes equally, then remove the bucket or center support through the open top.
The Season Starter wall of water can be left in place through the entire growing season. Just make sure to keep the cells constantly filled to an equal level. During the hottest days of summer, the Season Starter works in the opposite fashion, absorbing heat from the outside and moderating it on the inside, so plants don’t get scalded.
After the last produce is harvested from most gardens, your Season Starters will protect your plants to keep them producing another month or more past frost and freezing temperatures. When the season is completely finished, simply drain the water from the cells and store Season Starters in a shed or garage until the next gardening season is about to start.