first snow

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!

The first significant snow of 2014

Just back to the farm from being in town to find this:

2014 first snow

2014 first snow

Row covers are flattened. Metal hoops are down or bent. Some fiberglass hoops have snapped, tearing the row covers.

After sweeping

After sweeping

It was a wet snow. Temp is now 39 degF. Melting has begun, but the weight of it all is too much for the simple row covers. I tried to sweep some off, but it was a bit much. It will just have to be as it is.

Snow isn’t a bad thing for a garden. It is actually insulating and protective to the growing plants. Provides good moisture.

Snow is NOT good for light season extension equipment. Time. Money. Effort. Bleh.

Oh well. Our minimalist try at season extension wasn’t ideal from the start. We’ll still have deliciousness we can dig out and enjoy, but our market season, for sure, is over.