mother nature

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…

Harvest info & market news – heading to Pearisburg

Hi, all. Here is the run down of things that are being harvested right now, things that are coming in, and of things that are going out…..

Items like head and leaf lettuces are peaking. It is likely that I will have a small gap until new sowings come in. I’ve yet to master my timing with these delicate things as Mother Nature seems to get a little feisty now and again, throwing off my exacting calendar.

Rain summary

Rain summary

Look at that breakdown of all the rain we’ve had over the years (click on the picture to view a larger image). 2013 was the worst. 2012 was the best growing season for us (We had just broken ground. The weather was generally good for that hodgepodge garden. It tricked us into thinking we could really master the market garden)! Mother Nature really affects the timing of things for a part-time farmer.

Anyway…these things are in full harvest: broccoli, kales, new potatoes, onions, chard, perpetual spinach. These things are coming in (harvest will be increasing each day/week): squashes, beans, tomatoes, peppers (hot & bells), cabbages.

Sungolds

Sungolds

Things I still need to check: cucumbers and beets (beets were getting close last I checked).

These items are ending this week: kohlrabi, turnips (without greens).

These things are finished until fall (if I can get plantings in): radishes, turnips, collards, Asian greens, kohlrabi.

As for market news, Jordan and I took a road trip to Pearisburg on Saturday to check out their new community market. They’ve asked us to join their ranks, and we have decided to give it a try. This market has a great community feel to it. It is that sense of community that we love so much at the Pulaski Market. So, instead of setting up shop at the South Main market in Blacksburg, we are moving our tables to the front lawn of the Pearisburg Community Center on Saturday mornings, starting July 18th. This market runs from 9-2 on Saturdays, but we still will harvest the morning of market, so it is highly likely our arrival to Pearisburg will be around 11. We’ll keep you posted on Facebook.

 

Keep cool y’all

 

Mother Nature is so amazing. I mean truly, could this growing season be any more unpredictable?

We have already hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit as a day time high temperature for this month.

May’s rainfall total for the entire MONTH = 1.42 inches (plants need an inch of water a WEEK for proper growth and for seed germination).

Dead lettuce transplant

Dead lettuce transplant

The humidity is enough to need hourly showers.

Crazy stuff.

This season, we are experiencing the hot, dry summer event. At least so far. The bad news is, that some of our cooler season crops were lost to these conditions (head lettuces, bolting greens, spinach). Weed pressure is pretty high. AND it is REALLY hard to work outside in this types of weather. It is important to keep cool and hydrated, y’all!

Our Wonder Dog pool

Our Wonder Dog pool

The good news is that (hopefully) the summer main crops will excel this year. Things like tomatoes, beans, squashes, corn, cukes and so on and so forth should be quite productive.

Aaaaah, wouldn’t we love to finally have a successful tomato season and a year off from blight?!!!

So hang tight…it’s going to be interesting in the garden this year. Stay tuned for updates of weekly harvests on our Facebook page.

For now, keep the liquids nearby and be sure to take an occasional break in the action to cool it!

Gratuitous sunset

Gratuitous sunset

 

Underway…finally!

This…

Winter Weather Warning

Winter Weather Warning…again and again…

has caused us to really adjust our seed starting plans in this new year.

No, not the snow per se, but the general winter weather we’ve seen so far.

Wildly strong winds have prohibited us from installing plastic around our outdoor growing area. Subzero arctic temperatures…umm…no way could use an outdoor growing area in these conditions (no heat source installed yet so all would’ve frozen solid). The risk of losing power at any time during these weird winter storms (freezing rain, sleet, snow and strong winds). No power = the loss of water, heat and any means of supporting new seedlings.

With all of that uncontrollable nature stuff going on, we have had to improvise. First, seed starting has been delayed two weeks while plan B was initiated. A little cash was invested to slightly winterize a gutted space within the farmhouse. This step was important for living conditions and future seed starting processes…the gutted space houses our water source! So, with a couple of frantic days insulating we managed to get the gutted space from an average of 20 degrees F to 50 just before the really cold days hit! Yay! No frozen water pipes!

Lastly, we’ve set up a space in our main living area for germination of seeds. We have heat piped into this room and a little space to work. Once seeds germinate, they’ll move into the plan B room and then on outside.

Underway!!!

Underway!!!

So….here is what is in the works:

  • install lighting in plan B area and prep for transfer of germinated flats
  • install plastic on outdoor growing area
  • install heat source in outdoor growing area (meant only for really cold nights)
  • install tables in outdoor growing area
  • continue cranking out the seeding!

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