W.O.W.... What A Difference!

comments (5) December 6th, 2009

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yourownvictorygarden Greg Holdsworth, contributor
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Well, it's finally starting to get cold down here in North Texas (if you consider temperatures in the 30's cold). Some areas of the state got their first snowfall of the year this week (including Houston of all places!).

I had rescued a couple of maverick tomato plants that had sprouted on their own from fallen tomatoes in late summer. I moved them into pots so I could bring them inside during the winter in the hopes of keeping them alive. I had purchased some Wall O' Water plant protectors but never tried them out. It was at this point I had the makings of a "cool" experiment. I've been wanting to utilize these in my garden for years but never got around to it. My two tomato plants stepped up to the plate and volunteered.

I knew we were gonna get some cool weather this past week (snow forecasted for Friday), so I had a golden opportunity to see how good these things really were.

I set them up and filled them with water. Unless you have multiple arms, this was a chore. I discovered a trick, however. Tapping in three wooden stakes to hold it up allowed me to fill the chambers with water without it falling over.

The experiment was underway. For a week, I have recorded the temperatures inside and outside of the Wall O' Water with a small plastic thermometer, once in the morning and again in the evening. The chart below illustrates the results. In a word, WOW!

The temperature inside was consistently 4-6 degrees Fahrenheit higher than outside. Plus, it shielded the plants from the biting wind.

Friday night was the ultimate test. It was expected to be in the upper 20's by Saturday morning, and by now much of the other annual flowers and herbs I have in my beds have gotten severely damaged.

All bundled up, I walked out to the Wall O' Waters early Saturday morning to find the water in most of the chambers frozen. Yes, FROZEN. To my amazement, both plants were undamaged.

So, I am convinced. These things are for real! I'm gonna continue watching what happens and making note of numbers. Now all I have to do is adjust my seed-starting schedule to allow for this newly-gained growing time. This is VERY exciting. It seems that the amount of time we have down here before it gets oppressively hot has decreased noticeably in the last few years. Being able to add a few weeks to the growing season, as the product advertises, will be huge.

Date & Time Outside W.O.W.* Inside W.O.W.*
11/29/2009 - 6:20 AM 40 44
11/29/2009 - 6:05 PM 46 50
11/30/2009 - 6:00 AM 39 42
11/30/2009 - 6:30 PM 41 46
12/01/2009 - 6:35 AM 32 35
12/01/2009 - 6:35 PM 38 43
12/02/2009 - 6:10 AM 40 45
12/02/2009 - 5:30 PM 49 54
12/03/2009 - 5:30 AM 32 36
12/03/2009 - 6:30 PM 36 40
12/04/2009 - 6:25 AM 29 33
12/04/2009 - 5:00 PM 40 43
12/05/2009 - 7:15 AM 28 32
12/05/2009 - 5:15 PM 39 43
12/06/2009 - 7:20 AM 37 42
12/06/2009 - 6:45 PM 45 48

*Numbers are degrees Fahrenheit

As I get more experienced using the Wall O' Waters, I'll post my findings.

posted in: growing, wall o' water, experiments

Comments (5)

DonnaCox writes: Really difference.
Posted: 3:30 am on October 14th
rvermar writes: I have used WOWs for 3 years now, in the Pacific NW. Great results; some caveats:
* Fill them just 2/3 full, keeping a 5-gallon bottomless bucket placed over the plant. Pull out the bucket and the WOW forms its protective teepee shape.

* remove them before the tomatoes get too big or you will damage the plants. The package says to leave them on all season, but then you will get diseased plants due to no air circulation.

* this year (2010) we are (still) experiencing a very wet, cold, and sunless Spring. My WOWs protected my tomato seedlings from the cold, however, I recently (June 1) checked on them and saw that all the plants were infected with an active mold/fungus on the lower branches. I removed the WOWs, pulled off the branches, and saved the plants. It has been a very late Spring, and very wet. YMMV, but check those plants for fungus, wherever you live!
Posted: 2:13 pm on June 8th
nancynursez637 writes: I make my own wall of waters with 5 gallon plastic buckets with the bottom cut out. Then I plant the tomato, set the bucket over it, and add 3 1/2 gallon milk jugs filled with water and allowed to warm through out the day. They are left there permanently for the growing season. Early in the season this allows you the opportunity to cover your home made wow with row cover to protect from late frosts.

It is far easier than filling wall of waters and they last much longer, don't turn green with algae, and don't tip oover or collapse onto the plants.

I get my buckets from a local hamburger place once they are done with the recepticals, and or sometimes will buy a 5 gal paint bucket.

To cut the bottom out easily, drill a 5/8th inch hole in the side of the bucket just above the bottom, then insert a keyhole or jigsaw and cut the bottom off.

Posted: 4:15 pm on December 23rd
DanielleGardenGirl writes: One of my favorite childhood memories of gardening was the spring that my mother became OBSESSED with getting a ripe tomato before Memorial Day (keep in mind we lived in Connecticut and this was considered crazy-talk). But with the help of a W.O.W and an early-fruiting variety, she did realize her dream. I've been a fan of these garden helpers ever since.
Posted: 1:48 pm on December 17th
alethor writes: I am in Dallas (TX) zone 8.
I have used Wall O' Waters all last year.
I sucessfully transplanted my Tomatoes plants on February 11th and tehy grew fantastic ! When the plant grow some of the leaves will go out of the Wall O'Water and they may turn a little yellow if the temperature is too cold ... but the plant will still be ok. I really had a MILLIONS of tomatoes starting my plants in side Wall O' Water so early.
Good luck
Posted: 8:58 am on December 7th
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