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Vegetable Gardening: Solar reflecter

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grits74571
Talihina, OK

November 29, 2012
2:06 PM

Post #9345593

Now that the days are becoming shorter and shorter i kinda hit upon an idea for adding more sunlight now since can't make the sun rise any sooner or set any later ,i have devised a reflecter of sorts .Please keep in mind that it was built using parts that I had on hand I built the first part about a week ago and it seemed to make a diference in the growth rate so today I added the second part now if I can get the pix to load we will be in bussines

Thumbnail by grits74571   Thumbnail by grits74571   Thumbnail by grits74571   Thumbnail by grits74571
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grits74571
Talihina, OK

November 29, 2012
2:21 PM

Post #9345600

a couple of other pix that are captioned

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ERNIECOPP
Vista, CA

November 29, 2012
3:06 PM

Post #9345636

Grits,
If you do not mind a suggestion, you might hold a mirror, about noon,against the solar wall and see what angle the Sun's reflection strikes the plants. Then tip or lean the reflectors to the angle that best reflects the sun rays to the middle of the plants. That should give you the maximum boost from the Sun.

Trapping the heat is a very good idea, and should help your yield.

Ernie

Solace

Solace
Monte Vista, CO
(Zone 4a)

November 30, 2012
9:46 AM

Post #9346230

Grits, for the last few weeks I've been doing some research on lighting in the greenhouse, some of which would equate to outdoor lighting as well, specifically for our corn, and it definitely affects yield. One of the documents I read was about light on the lower canopy of plants (corn, in this study). Fascinating stuff. The azimuth of the sun is very low here in winter, and I don't have supplemental lighting in the GH yet, so I've been thinking about adding some strips of heavy duty aluminum foil beside the bottoms of the stalks and in between the rows, angled toward the sun, to see if it will make a difference in yield and plant health overall - although they seem to be healthy buggers at this point. They're tasseling, so now is a critical time, according to the Purdue study. http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=pmcg

I think your idea of increasing light by reflection is a very good one.

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Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

December 1, 2012
3:46 AM

Post #9346696

We use silver mulch. When the sun is shining on it, it feels like a heater. If I'm working beside it I have to wear sunglasses. Cucumbers, broccoli, squash and cauliflower love it. We have it both in the greenhouse and in the field.
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

December 1, 2012
4:03 AM

Post #9346700

I had to chuckle when I saw your thread Grits. I have a small container (like your garlic tub) that I am growing radishes in ~ which I might add I haven't had success with since we moved here.

Anyway on a smaller scale, I took a bread delivery tray that would cover the top of the barrel half and lined it with tinfoil to reflect light onto the growing surface. I used short bamboo to prop it at an angle best suited to reflect maximum sunlight into the container. I had considered a silver mulch but they are still seedlings.

Calalily ~ the added reflected heat is another good reason for the mulch. Thanks.

Interested to see everyones successes/failures. Kristi
grits74571
Talihina, OK

December 1, 2012
6:02 AM

Post #9346782

Y'all need to tell me more about the silver mulch never even heard of it before

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

December 1, 2012
7:03 AM

Post #9346807

Now I'm confused. How does the warmth from the silver much on the soil help cool weather brassicas? Is it cool/cold air temps, soil temps soil, or a combination of warm soil but cool air?

Thanks!
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

December 1, 2012
8:46 AM

Post #9346867

GG, I think it is more the light reflection than the heat- .

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

December 1, 2012
10:35 AM

Post #9346928

Now I'm confused. How does the warmth from the silver mulch on the soil help to cool the brassicas? Is it cool/cold air temps, soil temps, or a combination of warm soil but cool air?

Thanks!
ERNIECOPP
Vista, CA

December 1, 2012
1:58 PM

Post #9347041

Linda,

The use of the solar rays is pretty simple. I am not how much it helps the brassicas, but silver foil on the ground will reflect the heat energy from the sun. That will keep the ground cooler than bare ground would be.

If the reflected rays strike the foliage, that has the same effect on the leaves that direct rays do, except for the heat that is lost or absorbed in the reflection.

So, with your extensive knowledge of the brassicas, you can decide if the cooler soil and warmer leaves will help or hurt them.

But if you have ever had your face sunburn while driving your car sitting inside, you will see that the sun rays reflect or deflect when they strike something and continue on with the energy.

I started using that reflected sun warmth 30 years ago, because i wanted to ripen grapes where it was too cold to do so without the added warmth,

Then I did it again last year to make a warmer place to ripen tomatoes. Same principle, different plants and situations.

And since plants do not do well in the dark, and they do not do well in the cold, i think both the light and the warmth from the Sun is helpful.

Ernie
ERNIECOPP
Vista, CA

December 1, 2012
2:01 PM

Post #9347043

The picture of my solar reflector tomato box did not attach to the above post, so i will try again, here.

ernie

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Solace

Solace
Monte Vista, CO
(Zone 4a)

December 1, 2012
3:05 PM

Post #9347078

That's a very nice setup, Ernie. Nice looking, too. I like the bars around the edges to tie the tomatoes to, and the U shape so it will be easy to harvest them. Nice!
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

December 1, 2012
4:04 PM

Post #9347126

Very clever
ERNIECOPP
Vista, CA

December 1, 2012
9:47 PM

Post #9347317

Solace, I need to clarify a little bit, Those bars are old fence panels, six feet high that i stood in there after the weather warmed up for the vines to climb on. In cooler weather it is covered with greenhouse plastic panels, and has a temperature controlled opener for one panel to keep it from overheating.
The proof was in the pudding, as the tomatoes in the hot box did at least twice as good as the ones planted in the open along the fence.
I now have it closed back up with some beets,carrots kohlrabie and squash in it for a winter garden.
Ernie
stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

December 2, 2012
8:47 AM

Post #9347605

Ernie, when you're not using that set up to grow tomatoes, you can always use it as a cattle chute! LOL
ERNIECOPP
Vista, CA

December 2, 2012
9:42 AM

Post #9347638

No cattle any more, but a good idea so i may use it to handle gophers.We have plenty of them.

Ernie

Solace

Solace
Monte Vista, CO
(Zone 4a)

December 2, 2012
10:11 AM

Post #9347665

You could open up "Ernie's Gopher Round-up Ranch" and charge admission. ;-)
ERNIECOPP
Vista, CA

December 2, 2012
10:45 AM

Post #9347703

Out here in CA, there would be more people protesting the killing of gophers than there would be paying customers watching me kill them, so i better not promote this.

Ernie
stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

December 2, 2012
11:37 AM

Post #9347746

A set up like that would be a good compost pile container as well.
ERNIECOPP
Vista, CA

December 2, 2012
11:57 AM

Post #9347777

Steph,
Yes, the additional heat would be a big benefit, but i have given up on a compost pile, as I am too old to turn the pile by hand, so i have mine spread out where i can rototill it. There are many many benefits to having control of the warmth in gardening. I am very pleased with it, and glad to see so much interest in the solar reflecting. Not a cheap way to produce electricity, but certainly helps warm things up.

Ernie
TX_gardener
Brady, TX
(Zone 8a)

December 2, 2012
4:05 PM

Post #9347990

What is silver mulch?
ERNIECOPP
Vista, CA

December 2, 2012
4:37 PM

Post #9348007

Calalily is the one that uses it. I have not seen it myself. But silver is reflective, just as black absorbs heat.
grits74571
Talihina, OK

December 3, 2012
3:52 AM

Post #9348390

i likely need to rethink some of my ideas about fall/winter gardens for most of my crops I do not mulch at all since most winters we get more rain than we need >>Not this year !!! so am going to start mulching to keep the soil from drying out between rains still I want to know more about the silver mulch..joe
ERNIECOPP
Vista, CA

December 3, 2012
7:40 AM

Post #9348577

Joe, Reflective mulch sounds like a good idea for summer to keep the ground cool, but if it is reflective then it will slow the ground warming up in the Spring. I am interested in reading more about it, too.

Ernie

kittriana

kittriana
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

December 3, 2012
8:39 AM

Post #9348675

Harris Seeds for one, silver plastic mulch sold in sheets- they also carry other colors- like red for tomatoes
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

December 8, 2012
4:21 AM

Post #9352805

I'm sorry I haven't been here much, we just finished putting the covers on the big greenhouses.
I bought my silver mulch from Jordan Seeds. It is black mulch with an aluminum coating embossed on one side. If you stand beside the mulch on a sunny day it is definitely hotter, like standing beside a mirror in the sun. We use it outside and also inside the greenhouses. I use silver with brassicas and cucurbits. I use red with tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.
ERNIECOPP
Vista, CA

December 8, 2012
7:28 AM

Post #9352912

It sounds like it would be very useful, like putting the black side up to warm the ground then flipping it to add heat and light to the foliage as the plants grow. Or using it vertical in northern climes to reflect more sunlight to the plants.
grits74571
Talihina, OK

December 8, 2012
5:42 PM

Post #9353300

Okay this is part of my mulching job this morning the newspaper came from the Talihina Public library well I know the pix are in this puter cause I just pulled the card out will try again later
grits74571
Talihina, OK

December 8, 2012
6:02 PM

Post #9353307

Ain't pretty but it works the various pieces of wood are there to hold the newspaper down in the wind a nice side benefit is it keeps the dirt off the leaves

Thumbnail by grits74571   Thumbnail by grits74571         
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kittriana

kittriana
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

December 8, 2012
8:23 PM

Post #9353374

That's a big plus! Dirt off leaves, yup! It looks good grits- you know cold is coming south right? MAYBE we will get some moisture out of this front.
grits74571
Talihina, OK

December 10, 2012
5:02 AM

Post #9354376

I guess the reflecter is now a moot point as it is snowing here and kinda chilly out there,of course it will take a lot more cold than this to kill the mustard

kittriana

kittriana
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

December 10, 2012
6:24 AM

Post #9354458

brrr, block moisture, but may still help the reflexive ability- even with snow. stay warm!!!

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