Arctic Blast & Indoor Plant Overwintering, Production & Shed Insulating

Here’s an update on how our shed/greenhouse is coming along, a year-and-a-half into the project…

Installing ceiling insulation

Early during Christmas week, Mr. Ethereal finally was ready to work some more on finishing the roof insulation project which he had begun during the summer. I had picked up big purple foam core insulation from Lowe’s or Home Depot (I forget which) and had the employee there cut them in half lengthwise for me.

After watching several YouTube videos on how to install this type of insulation, a couple of those contractors shared that we would need to add a baffle layer underneath to allow for air circulation and moving moisture up to the roof crest where it could escape. (lead photo)

So we began the project in early summer. Hubby was about a third of the way done when his work got really busy and he spent a lot of his weekends cleaning up our yards and his mother’s front and back yards.

When the cooler weather came along in fall, the purple insulation began falling down.

This wasn’t good… 🙁

What to do about falling insulation?

Hubby figured out a simple way to get the insulation to stay in place with the expansion/contraction of fluctuating temperatures: just install small pieces of wood shims, cut to length, and held in place with a wood screw.

Easy peasy fix! 🙂

Bringing in plants from outdoors came next for me! For those six days of extreme low temps, these guys were grateful to be indoors. Happily, the weather has warmed up again and they are back outside the shed enjoying sunshine and warmth!

As I finish this post, the roses are already pushing leaves! We had an 80 degree day on Wednesday then temps plummeted to 32 overnight. Yesterday was in the very high 50’s/low 60’s. I forget since my brain is a big foggy with another round of Covid… (Can you believe it?!)

But back to our shed story… 🙂

I took cuttings in early October of the tradescancha (purple trailing vine) and they rooted well, as did the angel wing begonia (rounded leaves in back). They are producing new babies and will be ready to put outside in pots in early spring.

I didn’t have good luck with the pentas or lantana. Rats! I put the blue lobelia in the ground and we shall see if it comes back after the freeze. Originally I had tossed it into the compost pile but I just didn’t have the heart to kill it outright. I hope the roots stayed alive and it’s worth the experiment to see if this root stock produces some blue lobelia for me! I would LOVE IT if I could get it to self-seed and propogate itself in the flower beds! It is soooo pretty…

The mondo grass is loving its life, as you can see (above). I will wait until mid-March and get them outdoors permanently. They do overwinter well here in North Texas.

Here are what our temperatures were doing on the 21st or 22nd of December as the cold front was coming in. The app almost never says “high” then “low.” It’s usually the reverse.

We dropped 23 degrees in like an hour-and-a-half. Did you experience the same where you live? It was the craziest thing! I was glad for layers of jackets, a windbreaker, and gloves!

Putting the garden to bed

I worked on stripping leaves off the roses and finished 10 rose bushes in one day, but less than a month later, they are already pushing new growth. Some have new leaves!

They’ve never really gone dormant this year, except for the Arctic storm.

February might bring in another Artic storm and that would kill of all of this new growth, so I will really have to wrap things well if another big storm rolls in again.

That’s what happened all of my panicle hydrangea blooms last year. I had to buy new hydrangea plants to have anything blooming.

The day the Christmas Arctic storm began, when temperatures dropped so rapidly in just a couple of hours, I raked tons of leaves over all of the plants after spreading the three bags of black mulch underneath most of the plants.

Some plants I also covered with plastic plant pots, and that really helped insulate them! I will be doing that again if need be in February.

And here’s how the yard looked with everything bedded down for Christmas Week Arctic Storm. Until we can afford to have an electrician come and run a heavy duty line to the back of the shed (it’s plumbed for it already), we run a heavy duty extension cord inside the window and swap out whatever we have plugged in.

Lately, I plug in the new heater for night, then plug in the new set of UV lights in the morning before the day begins. I am growing on the bibb lettuce, tomatoes and something else from seeds.

Here is the new little folding shelf unit I found during the Black Friday sales at Lowe’s. It’s lightweight for easy moving around, and perfect for starting seedlings (it’s intended purpose). It is a little Better Homes & Garden plant shelf. (None of this is sponsored,; just like the product.)

I started these seedlings right after Christmas and… You can see the light tube standing above these little seedlings.

Next I need to pot up the tomatoes.

I am giving everything here a very light liquid feed mixed in water every week and that is making them happy.

I repotted some of the baby Bibb lettuce here on MLK Jr.’s birthday Monday here in 2023! I still have three 3″ containers to pot up, but think I might just let them grow on and eat them as micro greens in a salad soon.

I learned on Garden Answer (YouTube) that you can sheer them back and they will grow again. At least I think that is correct. 😉

New heater & lighting

All of the plants are doing well. About mid to late February, I’ll begin giving the orange and lemon trees citrus fertilizer to get them producing flowers. I’ll hand-pollenate, like I did last year, to ensure good fruit production.

I just repotted the orange tree ~ it’s shocking a bit but should recover. One of the lemon trees could use a bigger pot, but otherwise, all are doing well.

Waiting for a good rain! The bougainvillea in the terracotta pot in front is pushing new leaves. 🙂

Rain is forecast for Wednesday this week and we could use it! California is inundated with rain this year (biggest in two decades). Now Texas is in drought conditions… Go figure. (Seems to follow us…)

Three baby begonias ~ will be ready for spring!

Well, friends, that’s about all that’s going on out in the garden and with the shed. I am really happy with how the plants are doing and I hope to report back on the little lettuce and tomatoes as they grown.

I may have lost the parent angel wing begonia, which was in the long Italian ceramic trough in the outdoor photograph above, but three of the four cuttings made it and rooted. One has quite a few new baby leaves! This is the first time in years that I’ve started cuttings.

My mom and I used to start spider plants and trailing ivy and other things when I lived at home, but I don’t think I have really rooted anything since. I did try with my mother-in-law’s plants last year, but almost all of those tries died…. If we’d have had this dry winter last year, we would have had a lot of success! Rats…

“Scumpy” in the winter leaves!

Yoda enjoyed being outside the past several days as we even had highs up to 80 degrees (Wednesday last week, 1/11/23, the day I came down with Covid). Highs in the upper 60’s and low 70’s since and he so enjoys the warmth!

Crossing my fingers and saying a little prayer that I can get the veggies planted out in March in new raised beds (yet to be built) for a real crop this year! <3

Happy January, y’all!

Barb 🙂

3 thoughts on “Arctic Blast & Indoor Plant Overwintering, Production & Shed Insulating”

  1. It’s so exciting to see progress on your garden shed Barb! I know you’ve been working and dreaming about it for a long time and I feel like you guys are so close. I love that you already have plants in there and blooming. My hydrangeas got hit by the cold weather we had in Florida over Christmas too. They were even covered up so I might try you leaf idea next time to see if it will help. They look so pitiful! On a sidenote, I’m so sorry to hear you have Covid again. I swear it seems like you’ve been throught it lately with sickness and I know it can’t be easy. I’ll definitely be keeping you in my prayers. Sending you lots of hugs from chilly Florida, CoCo

    1. Thanks, CoCo! I appreciate the prayers. I hope your hydrangeas come back well this spring. They should. Many types are rated to zone 5 for cold. Enjoy your usually good weather!!! 🌞

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