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Author Topic: greenhouse tempature for South African Bulbs  (Read 5426 times)

angie

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greenhouse tempature for South African Bulbs
« on: September 24, 2009, 08:47:16 PM »
Can anyone give me some advice. I was looking back Paul Cumbleton forum dated 4th January 2008 about his own South African Bulb house and would like to find out what temperature the greenhouse would need to be kept at.
Have waited 25years for a greenhouse and thought it would be so easy to grow plants but finding out its not as easy as first thought, any advice please.

Thanks Angie :)
Angie T.
....just outside Aberdeen in North East Scotland

David Nicholson

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Re: greenhouse tempature for South African Bulbs
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2009, 09:49:33 PM »
Can anyone give me some advice. I was looking back Paul Cumbleton forum dated 4th January 2008 about his own South African Bulb house and would like to find out what temperature the greenhouse would need to be kept at.
Have waited 25years for a greenhouse and thought it would be so easy to grow plants but finding out its not as easy as first thought, any advice please.

Thanks Angie :)

Angie, in a few words you have asked what first looks to be a perfectly simple question BUT it really is (in my view) very difficult to answer and in order to try to provide an answer I think it is necessary for you to provide some more information.

Do you, for example, intend to try to grow winter growing bulbs or summer growing bulbs, or perhaps you want to try both? Do you want to try some of the rarer summer growers that might need high temperatures or are you content to try some of the winter growers that need just frost free conditions? Or do you, like some of us, want to take a few risks and try some of the frost prone winter growers under glass with only a bit of fleece twixt plant and frost?

You really need to do a bit of pre-reading before you commit too much money on bulbs you haven't a snowball's chance in Hell to raise as well as spending enough money on power to heat your greenhouse to feed the third world for a year! Can I suggest you try to get hold of "Growing Bulbs:The Complete Practical Guide" by Brian Mathew, published by Batsford in 1997. Usually available quite cheaply from the on-line bookshops. My copy cost me a fiver and has re-paid that to me many fold.

Sorry if this hasn't been too helpful, but it really is not an easy question to answer.



David Nicholson
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angie

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Re: greenhouse tempature for South African Bulbs
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2009, 10:42:48 PM »
Thanks David

I am not sure myself on what I want to grow, its my birthday on Sunday and my mum who is house bound and lives with us told me to buy some of those expensive bulbs that you were talking about but maybe by the sounds of it I should leave it for the more experienced among us. I always look at Wisely plants and want to grow them, I purchased Massonia depressa, Dabbenya Zeyheri and Boophane Disticha.
I keep the library books for the Aberdeen club and noticed that we have that book so I away to look for it and off to bed with a good book. Thanks for your suggestion. I shall let you know how I get on with my reading.

Thanks Angie :)
Angie T.
....just outside Aberdeen in North East Scotland

Darren

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Re: greenhouse tempature for South African Bulbs
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2009, 08:16:34 AM »
Angie,
          I grow a lot of winter-growing south african bulbs and basically agree with David. Even I won't pay the current retail price for Daubenya zeyheri ! Don't be discouraged though - Massonia are certainly very easy in my experience, as are Lachenalia etc. You are likely to spend quite a bit on heating in Aberdeen compared to David in Devon or me on the west coast however.
            For cultural advice you can't do better than look at the website of Terry Smale (just google) there is a terrific section on growing these bulbs. Terrys advice, which i follow, is to just heat the greenhouse enough to exclude hard frosts. This means setting the thermostat at 2C in my case.
However - If the forecast is for frost down to about -2C then I will simply close up the greenhouse and not bother with heating as the glass itself will keep out a couple of degrees of frost. If the forecast is for lower than -2C then I will close up and switch the heater on to standby so that the thermostat will activate the heater if needed.The theory is that due to our low light levels in this country the low temperature will delay a lot of the growth until brighter conditions in spring and the plants will not get as leggy as they would if kept warm during our dark winters. The rest of the time (except in gales) the greenhouse is kept fully open to allow as much ventilation as possible.
       



Darren Sleep. Nr Lancaster UK.

David Nicholson

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Re: greenhouse tempature for South African Bulbs
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2009, 09:42:48 AM »
Angie, if you can find a copy of it anywhere "Growing Bulbs Indoors" by Peter Knippels is a very useful book for aspiring growers of South African bulbs. It's especially good on watering regimes and for the species covered identifying which are winter growers and which are not.

The South African seed company Silverhill Seeds do stock the book but it works out quite expensive. I got my copy from

http://www.keithsplantbooks.co.uk/default.aspx?Books=G
David Nicholson
in Devon, UK  Zone 9b
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angie

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Re: greenhouse tempature for South African Bulbs
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2009, 04:47:24 PM »
Hi Darren & David

Thanks for the advice, I never thought about our low light level in the winter just how cold my greenhouse would get in Aberdeen. My greenhouse has a stone wall at the rear and gets sun for most of the day and there is a Pine forrest behind the greenhouse so that stops the North gale force winds that we normally get in Aberdeen hitting it, I think l am trying to convince myself that I wont have to take out a mortgage to cover the heating bill. I really wanted to try and grow massonia the other bulbs l thought were just pretty. I think I wont buy any more bulbs until l learn more about them, I always jump in feet first,maybe they will be too difficult to grow up here.
I wish I could move down south and get those milder winters.
I shall look up the web for Terry Smale and l hold the library books for the Aberdeen club and noticed that we have Growing bulbs by Brian Mathew but its out on loan, our first meeting is on Tuesday so maybe it will be brought back.
I will try and purchase Peter Knippels book.
Thanks for all your advice.

Angie :)
Angie T.
....just outside Aberdeen in North East Scotland

Paul Cumbleton

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Re: greenhouse tempature for South African Bulbs
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2009, 11:34:16 AM »
Hi Angie,
You've already had lots of good advice but I thought I would just confrim that both at home and at work we keep our South African Houses just frost-free (our thermostats are set around 4 centigrade). Many of the South African bulbs will actually take a bit of frost - the Massonias in particular that you like will take a fair bit (we have some in an unheated house that got down to minus 8 centigrade last winter and they survived that!).  We keep our main house just frost free for the sake of those that ar a bit more sensitive.

Your main problem up in Aberdeen will be the light levels in the winter - you simply may not get enough. So try a few cheap things first and see how they go. A good way to get stuff to try free (for members) is to join the South African Bulb Group. We have a seed and bulb exchange (already over for this year I'm afraid) with lots of good stuff on it. Go to http://www.sabg.tk/  for details.

Paul
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angie

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Re: greenhouse tempature for South African Bulbs
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2009, 08:45:38 PM »
Thanks Paul

Yes I have been given good advice which helps me a lot. I never thought about the light levels just only the heating and its good to hear that I don't need to keep the greenhouse heating to high. Do you think it would be worth putting in some supplementary light?  Gardening is my only expense and I am out in the garden or greenhouse everyday ( some people think I am mad but I just love plants ). I bought a Boophane Disticha bulb but maybe I should have read up more on these bulbs before I made my purchase, that's me all over when it comes to plants ( I hope I don't kill it ).
Thanks for your help.

I will go and look at the South African Bulb Group site.

Must say how much I enjoy your alpine log and also enjoyed my visit to Wisley this year came home with a car of plants and dreams of being able to grow plants like you do in the alpine house.

Thanks Angie
Angie T.
....just outside Aberdeen in North East Scotland

Paul Cumbleton

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Re: greenhouse tempature for South African Bulbs
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2009, 10:31:22 AM »
Hi Angie,
Supplementary lighting would undoubtedly help. I have no experience of using it, but they use it at Kew for South African bulbs and they say it makes a significant difference. The expense puts me personally off of it, but if it were cheaperI would love to be able to install it at home because the house I have for my bulbs here isnot in an ideal situation and the plants do get a bit stretched.

I'm glad you enjoy the log, it's always nice to get appreciative comments!

Cheers

Paul
Paul Cumbleton, Somerton, Somerset, U.K. Zone 8b (U.S. system plant hardiness zone)

I occasionally sell spare plants on ebay -
see http://ebay.eu/1n3uCgm

http://www.pleione.info/

angie

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Re: greenhouse tempature for South African Bulbs
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2009, 09:56:30 AM »
Hi Paul

Thanks again for your correspondence, :)I think I will get some lighting for the greenhouse and I am going away to join the South African Bulb club, I hope they don't mind having novices there. Thanks for your time on this subject.

Angie
Angie T.
....just outside Aberdeen in North East Scotland

 

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