After the Frost

Last week a somewhat thriving garden. After the frost…..

It’s a little disappointing when you still have tomatoes ripening on the vine when your first frost comes. But then there is also the stress release of knowing you no longer need to spend every morning and evening caring for your crops.

What’s next? Clean up. Let the chicken have at it while pulling everything out of the ground and tossing it into the compost pile. We decided to leave the landscape fabric on the ground to protect the soil. We aren’t sure if it’s a good idea yet but we’ll see what the soil is like next year.We pulled out the irrigation drip tape to be sure water in the tape didn’t freeze and crack the tape. Other than that we are just leaving the garden to rest until spring.

And next year? Of course we will take a look at everything that worked and didn’t work and plan on adjusting for next year. We have 4-5 months to finalize our plan. The biggest learning was that we had too many rows of a single item and couldn’t sell them all. We will do fewer rows next year and only 1 row per item. Only exception is the beans. We’ll have 1 row of green beans, and a second row split between yellow and purple beans. No more 3 rows of tomatoes and cucumbers. Even though they were very popular it was still too much. I’m sure we’ll have more thoughts as the full winter comes and we will have more ideas on ways to make next years crops better. More efficient set up, bigger variety and better yield. That’s what we are looking for next year.

 

Saving Carrots in the Fall

It finally happened. Our first freeze was predicted and we had to harvest the rest of the fragile vegetables. Luckily there are a few vegetables that can handle a light freeze and one of them is carrots. We had 1-1/2 rows of carrots left that can withstand a drop in temperature down to 28 degrees if it’s not for too long.

We have never tried protective covering before so we took our first stab at a low tunnel. We invested in a pole bender, dug them into the ground and covered with a frost resistant agricultural fabric. It’s a little awkward setting it up but we found it successful all the way into November.

A longer ground frost was projected so we had to dig them all up and store for winter. Some were frozen but a lot of them went to the chickens. After seeing such great results we decided we will use low tunnels more next year not just to extend  the life of the root vegetables in the fall but to hopefully allow us to plant tomatoes and peppers earlier with frost protection.

In a short season region anything we can do to extend our growing season to make our customers happier is worth the work.