Every gardener wants to be the first one to set out their plants in the garden space. There are a couple of reasons for this. One, it allows the gardener to treat that itch that one gets when you are waiting for it to warm up so you can got out and start working the soil. The second reason is it gives one some bragging rights when you can harvest the first tomato many days to weeks before anyone else. While there is no secret potion to add to your plants to achieve this goal, there is a product out there that can aid you in getting your plants outdoors sooner. What is this? Well, when I was in college it was simply called “wall-of-waters” but today it can go by many names. To help you find a product like the Gardeneer Dalen Season Starter, I will be describing the science behind how this works.
The concept of the “wall-of-waters” is to create a small environment around your plant where it is warmer. This simple technique will keep the cold off your plant, which occurs in the early spring. While this product can work any time of year, it is better to use it in the spring as the sun becomes more intense. The “wall-of-waters” is made of a two-layer, thick plastic that is clear or slightly tinted green and forms a tube. The tube is placed over your planted plant of choice. What holds this tube up is water. Where does the water go? Well, the two-layer construction is further divided into channels that are filled with water. During the day, the sun hits the channels filled with water, heats the liquid up and this heat is released during the evening hours. In a nutshell, this product protects your plants from a frost. It can also speed up the growth of the plant due to the concentration of heat.
This is how this product works but it should only be used after your last local frost and not before. The reason for this is the fact that your soil also needs to heat up before you can plant your tomato plant in the ground.
When it comes to the Gardeneer Dalen Season Starter though, the principle is the same as any “wall-of-water.” In the kit, you get three season starters that are large enough to hold plants that are transplant size. These are made of a heavy plastic that will last many years and the tubes that hold the water are made so that they are easy to fill, which is not always the case with all “wall-of-waters.”
While this product is designed for many years of use, I do find some instructions on the cover a bit misleading. As stated, you do need to allow the soil to warm before you plant out in the ground. On the cover, it states that it allows you to plant up to six weeks earlier, which may or may not be correct depending on the soil temperature. It also states that his product is designed for “vining plants.” Whether the company meant this or not, it lists tomatoes and peppers along with cucumbers, and melons as plants that this product can be used over. As an experienced gardener, I know this product can be used to protect other plants along as they are small and I also know that tomatoes and peppers are not considered “vining plants.” To reduce confusion on this matter, the cover on this product needs to be clearer.
Overall, I really like this product due to its durability and ease by which I can fill the cells with water and be on to my next gardening chore. I simply wish clearer information was presented on the label.