O.K. at least we can say we tried. Who else has experimented with growing papaya and banana in an unheated greenhouse in Massachusetts!?
Although we did expect frost at some point, we are very close to freezing in the bioshelter now. I expect some frost by mid week. The remaining plants will most likely sail through the next month of cold, even with a few nights of 20 degrees in the bioshelter.
After utilizing multiple strategies for keeping the cold away from the banana and papaya, we’ve finally decided to dig them up and bring them in the house for the next two months (Jan, Feb). Surprisingly it wasn’t the cold that stopped the experiment, but the mold.
Wrapping the two plants with christmas lights, two feet of packed leaves in a foam box might keep cold out. Unfortunately at the bioshelter’s 99% relative humidity, the plants still would have disintegrated under wraps, do to mold, by March. Another stumbling block was our small solar battery just wasn’t charged enough to power the light used as a miniature heater for the plants.
Now the excitement is focused on the hardy grafted avocado. With healthy green leaves and new buds ready to explode with more heat, there is a good chance it will make it through the winter.
The blueberry-like Chilian guavas will make it through our “Florida Panhandle” bioshelter winter with no problem (being a zone 7 plant).
Oh, and the carrots I pulled yesterday from the bioshelter were so sweet and delicious, who needs papayas anyway 🙂