Water filled teepees store heat during the day, and protects your plants at night from cold temperatures. This means that you can plant warm season crops such as tomatoes earlier than usual -- and harvest earlier, too!

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Water Teepees Protect Plants

When you’re talking about air temperature, that can be important for certain plants, especially warm season crops such as tomatoes. With lettuce, its not quite as important, but we’re going to put the water tepees on anyway, because it protects the lettuce from the rabbits. Rabbits love lettuce, and this provides a protection from them.

What we’re going to use is a water tepee. It’s a plastic material that has a number of vertical tubes that are filled with water. When all of them are full, it forms a tepee shape over the plant.

The tepee tends to tip if you try to fill it up by yourself. You can resolve this problem by using a five-gallon bucket that has a hole cut in the bottom. Turn the bucket upside down and place it over your plant. Next, put the water tepee over that, and fill it with water.

This is a process that may take some time. When the water reaches a certain level, it fills in the other tubes next to it. We’ll try to balance the water, and fill it on several sides of the water tepee. When it’s full, take off the bucket, and there’s your tepee.

If you have a Kansas wind, they can blow over. They can be stabilized with an electric fence post. It’s best to come in on the side that is opposite the wind. In other words, if the wind is coming from the southwest, I’ll go to the opposite side and stabilize the tepee by pushing a post into the ground. That will keep it from blowing over in most Kansas winds.

This feature story prepared with Ward Upham, Kansas State University Research and Extension Research Assistant. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.

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