Author: peartreehillfarm

Fall cleanup…yes it’s March

I did some more fall cleanup in the garden today.  It was a rare rain-free day with the sun peeking through the clouds every now and then.

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Fall cleanup in the new year

Wait.  What?

Oh yes.  You heard correctly…I said I did some FALL cleanup today.  March 2nd in the year of 2019.

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Mud and muck from the incessant rains

If we write any kind of memoirs about our gardening experiences they would be mostly about what NOT to do.  Such as putting off fall cleanup until March of the next year.

But then again, I swear the only constants in our gardens that have happened since the early fall are rain and mud.  I do not exaggerate.  I am pretty certain that it has rained at some point each and every week since the month of September.  It’s weird.

I think it is safe to say our region is no longer in a drought…and mostly is in a surplus.  As in, we have standing water where we have never ever seen water.  Supersaturation.  Yep.

What’s it been like in your neck of the woods?  Is your garden season starting off as expected?

Winter Storm Update

We recently had about 17 inches of snow.

Snow bunnies

And even though we had some fun times sledding and snowshoeing in the snow…it still wrecked a little havoc on our fall garden:

Hoops flattened by weight of snow

I was unable to keep up with sweeping the accumulating snow off the rows.  Snow is insulating to plants, so I wasn’t worried about cold damage so much as the fiberglass rods breaking under the weight of the snow, tearing the row covers.

Today, between the rain and some warmer temperatures, the last bit of snow has finally melted. I surveyed the crops.

Damaged hoops

Some fiberglass rods have snapped with some row cover damage.

Plant damage

Some of the plants (e.g. Brussels sprouts pictured) sustained physical damage from the weight of the snow, and their tops have been broken.

Storage cabbages

But when it comes down to it, the crops are still looking pretty good and the damage, given the amount of snow and cold temperatures, is minimal.

The fiberglass hoops will be replaced today.  I think I will try taping two metal hoops together to make them longer and see how they do.  After all, winter technically hasn’t started yet…

Frozen

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.

Arugula

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?

Winter Gardening

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:

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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!

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Pre-cold snap harvest – stocking up!