So I’m about to put my JBP in a cold frame this Winter for the first time, which frankly terrifies me. The Northeast isn’t always kind to plant life during the Winter months. I had to contend with some wind burn from last winter so I opted for a cold frame this year. Even with the cold frame I’m concerned about the coooold weather we can typically endure and had read about some people using heating pads. I’ve done some research and found that there are plenty of agricultural suppliers offering seedling propagating pads as well as some heavier Rubber pads used in more of a commercial,application. So, I’m debating taking the plunge! I’d love to hear your Winter care thoughts on the use of a cold frame and the benefits or not of a heating pad.
In cold climates a cold frame concept can be very successful. As usual it depends on the construction and placement of the cold frame. There are so many variables to consider that giving direct advice is likely poor practice.
I would try to place a cold frame alongside the foundation of a heated building, this would buffer heavy frost considerations in the ground around the cold frame. I would also excavate the cold frame so a good portion was below the soil line. Once again to provide some warmth from the ground, foundation and to before from frost.
This of course is affected by the frost level expected in your climate. Sometimes a root cellar approach is more effective than a cold frame.
As far as the use of a heat pad or propagation pad, I would only do so if it could be thermostat controlled to prevent overheating. Important to maintain dormancy.
In short a specific plan for your location based on the known climate and the species you wish to protect. For JBP I would protect them from -10 F. If windburn is the major risk than that is easier to handle with buffering wind exposure.
Thanks for the reply Frank!