winter garden

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…

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 big freeze

I know that you have heard quite a bit about the recent winter weather that rolled across our nation this weekend. We saw what was going on out West. We heard dire reports from our local weather persons. We diligently prepared for the worst…bought more fuel oil for the furnace, Jordan created a way to run the furnace off of our generator, he also got the generator ready for action, we made coffee ahead of time in case we lost power, we stockpiled water for drinking and toilet flushing, we precooked food to have at the ready, lanterns and oil lamps were gathered along with matches and flashlights….basically…we got ready for ice, snow, sleet and the usual power outage that accompanies such tough, cold weather.

And then….it didn’t really happen. We had rain. We had freezing rain. We had ice. It was definitely cold. But – it wasn’t as bad as forecasted. And – for the first time during such an event, we didn’t lose power. What a nice change! We ate well. We stayed warm. We were able to complete a couple projects in comfort.

Wild. So to those who DID get the brunt of the storm, we can empathize and hope you hang tough.

Still (and I know you have seen oodles of images and such about the weather folks have experienced) it is hard not to find the beauty of the crystalline world that results from a good cold front….

View from the point - Peak's Knob covered in clouds and all the trees are coated in crystals

View from the point – Peak’s Knob covered in clouds and all the trees are coated in crystals

Melting ice

Melting ice

Barbed wire ice

Barbed wire ice

The winter garden - frozen row covers luckily with no wind

The winter garden – frozen row covers luckily with no wind