We all know it’s cold outside.
The sun is shining, and the breeze has let up today. It feels deceptively warmer.
The first peek under the row covers suggests otherwise.
Leaf lettuces with ice crystals
The plants are cold.
They are frozen.
Rainbow Swiss Chard
The multiple, consecutive days with temperatures below zero are concerning. As this cold weather passes, it will be interesting to see if and which plants are resilient.
Will they bounce back?
We would love to extend our growing season into the winter months. With more infrastructure coming soon, we’ll ramp up for that. But for now, we have a few rows under production and some that are overwintering produce.
Our society is so spoiled by having every want and whim at our beck and call in the grocery store that we have forgotten all about seasonality. There are some vegetables that grow better in the cooler season or taste better after the first nip of frost. These cooler season crops are such delicious treats to enjoy during the winter doldrums.
Though the winter garden is easier in the weeding department – as in really little weeding necessary – it still does demand some time an attention.
Like today. Our first snow. Not crazy but enough to cause some action:
Sweeping snow off row covers
Weather was forecasted to be in the teens…brrrr. Certainly cold enough to freeze plant cells and cause some serious damage. To prepare for the cold, we placed multiple row covers over the beds with the last cover raised higher to create an air space between it and the other row cover.
The downside of the outer cover is that it is held up with our taller, fiberglass poles. Not metal poles. Metal poles are great. They may collapse under the weight of snow, but once the snow is gone they spring right back to shape. Fiberglass? Nope. They collapse under the weight and SNAP!
So, although the snow is pretty, gives some much needed moisture to the soil and even helps to insulate (and protect) plants beneath it, if it keeps snowing today, I’ll have to keep sweeping it off to keep the fiberglass poles from snapping. You can see in the photo that some row covers have already torn under the strain. They will have to be replaced after the snow melts.
Why go to all the trouble? Because these delicious beauties lie underneath and are totally worth it!
Pre-cold snap harvest – stocking up!
Cool evenings and crisp mornings…there are hints of fall colors starting. The change of seasons is becoming more evident with each passing day.
We’ve been working in the garden to clean out summer crops passed their prime while planting crops for over-wintering. Crops in the works include: lettuces, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, scallions, kales, collards, and even crazy things like cauliflower (may be too late but worth a try).
In the meantime, the last summer harvests have been processed in order to savor the tastes later on. It is a bit of work, but there is a feeling of satisfaction when the pantry gets full.
The results of a few weeks of canning.
Soon, I’ll get some beets and garlic pickled and restock our supply of hot pepper jelly.
What are you filling your pantry with? Do you have a favorite canning recipe?
Our main growing area is protected from deer by a 8′ tall, extra heavy duty deer fencing. The only downside to this deer fencing is that it is extra heavy duty plastic.
Rabbits have big, sharp, pointy teeth.
Through the deer fencing they go.
It’s a super highway!
Do you know what makes it better?
Two large dogs. Suddenly, a tiny rabbit-sized round hole becomes a Labrador-sized portal!
What this all means is:
- We’ve had no summer lettuces, greens, etc.
- We’ve planted no fall lettuces, greens, etc.
The remedy – a fence within a fence. It finally happened today, with my Dad’s help. The raised beds used for greens got enclosed in 1″ hex chicken wire fencing that is 4′ tall. No, bunnies aren’t expected to jump THAT high, but if we’re working to keep them out, wouldn’t it be just a nice to keep the dogs out, too? You bet.
A fence within a fence
Now, to get busy planting!!!!