An Easy Way to Protect Vulnerable Plants from Frost in Land Park and Throughout Sacramento

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Gold DRE #00697006

water wells over cacti in land parkThe only person I've ever known who truly loved winter down to the core of her very soul was my mother. She adored winter. She loved the way the sun's glint reflecting off frozen windswept snowdrifts could blind a person. How sub-zero temperatures could cause metal earrings to sting one's earlobes and make the nostril hairs inside one's nose hang like icicles. She's dead now. That's what loving winter does to you.

Me, not so much. I'm not a big fan of winter. In fact, I grew up believing that California and Hawaii were among some of the best places to live in America. Notwithstanding how expensive Hawaii is, that makes Sacramento a dream destination with affordable housing and friendly people. We enjoy mild winters, too, a little snow in the foothills, but for most of the season, I don't even wear a coat.

The biggest problem with winter where I live in Land Park is frost. When those temperatures dip in to the 30s, some of the plants in my garden don't make it. Especially the cacti and succulents. I lost several gorgeous cactus plants last year, and am bound and determined it's not going to happen again this year.

Enter the picture: water wells. I had totally forgotten that we had a stack of these frost protectors in our garden shed. My husband and I used these to get an early start on growing tomatoes when we lived in Minnesota. They worked great. We could get a 30-day jump on everybody else by setting out our tender plants in late April and surrounding them with water wells. Didn't matter if it snowed or temperatures dropped, our plants were protected.

This year, I am protecting my cacti and succulents from frost and have already set up my water wells. See the photo above of my Land Park cactus garden. They look sort of weird, like aliens have taken over the garden, but I'm not losing my plants again this year. Here is a place where you can get them online. This gardening company calls them tomato teepees.

The water wells are made from plastic and feature individual chambers that hold water. So, if one of the chambers is punctured by a cactus thorn and leaks, the rest of them remain intact. They work by absorbing heat from the sun during the day and keeping the plants warm. The secret to filling them is to place a 5-gallon bucket over the plant, put the water well around it and, after it's filled, pick up the bucket. I'll report back in the spring.

Photo: Elizabeth Weintraub

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Elizabeth Weintraub is co-partner of Weintraub & Wallace Team of Top Producing Realtors, an author, home buying expert at The Balance, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, Carmichael and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put our combined 80 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Gold. DRE License # 00697006.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of RE/MAX Gold. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to


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Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Those water wells are a very innovative idea you have come up for frost protection on the cacti Elizabeth. In our area a lot of people throw sheets on bushes overnight sometimes.

Nov 20, 2009 02:05 AM #1
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Elizabeth:  Your sense of humor always gives me a smile.  In particular I love these two lines:  She's dead now. That's what loving winter does to you.  I wish your garden well.  Sounds like you're off to a good start.   I bet you'll have the prettiest garden in Land Park come Spring.

Nov 20, 2009 02:09 AM #2
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hi Gary: Those water wells are very time consuming to fill. I turned the water nozzle to jet to shoot the spray into each of those cells, and if I wasn't carefully watching, I'd hit the side of it and spray my face. You should have seen me out there.

Hi Chris Ann: Not everybody appreciates my warped sense of humor, but I'm glad that you do.

land park agent

Nov 20, 2009 06:42 AM #3
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Okay... I think that I like these things.  I'll be waiting to see how they do this winter, if and when you have frost and I'll need to know the temps they can tolerate, because I think I'd love to get an early start next spring with my veggies.  Now I'm off to check out the website where they are available.

Nov 20, 2009 08:30 AM #4
Terry & Bonnie Westbrook
Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner - Grand Rapids, MI
Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re

In Michigan you need to have hardy plants no cover is going to protect them not even global warming.

Nov 20, 2009 03:04 PM #5
Jesse & Kathy Clifton
Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS® - Fairbanks, AK

Well, I'm guessing we need to get packing and head south.  I don't want to wake up on the wrong side of the dirt tomorrow!

Nov 20, 2009 07:39 PM #6
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Jesse, I saw this come up on my BlackBerrry and laughed and laughed.

land park agent

Nov 21, 2009 02:47 PM #7
Mesa, Arizona Real Estate Mesa Arizona Realtor
Homes Arizona Real Estate LLC - Mesa, AZ

Elizabeth, you mean you "on purpose" plant cacti? Growing up in Arizona, I love them in the desert, but never wanted them in my yard. I am not even crazy about Palm Trees. I like grass, roses, gardenias and lots of green.

I like those tomato teepees though. My ficus trees froze one year, but they came back thank goodness. They are much too large for a teepee now....



Nov 22, 2009 03:39 PM #8
Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon
Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd - Westminster, CO
Helping people Transition at all ages!


I couldn't agree with you more about winter. We lived on Maui for a few years, and those were the best winters of my life! But you're right about how expensive it gets. Glad to see you've found a solution to the frost. Hope it works wonderfully!

Nov 23, 2009 10:51 AM #9
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