It’s September 7th and it’s going to be 90 degrees today. Tonight temperatures are going to drop into the 20s. We are supposed to get 8 inches of snow with 30 mile an hour winds. Such is living on a farm 5280 miles high. Well, closer to 6000.
In preparation we are pulling over all the tunnel covers that are set up. For those that are not set up, like the fall squash patch, including pumpkins, we laid down loose cover fabric over the fruits held down with sand bags. For melons we added an additional layer of actual weed block which should be thick enough for protection.
Sensitive items like peppers and tomatoes will not make it through the storm. We pulled all the peppers, including the ones that aren’t ripe yet. Sweet peppers will continue to ripen indoors. Our special heirloom tomatoes are grown in garden boxes so we brought them inside to our processing room to weather the storm. We covered the short Roma tomatoes with protected fabric, but the large, indeterminant Juliet tomatoes would blow around too much in the wind so we cut them off at the base and hung them upside down from the rafters in our hay loft. Tomatoes also continue to ripen after pulled. Leaving the tomatoes on the plants lengthens their ability to ripen even more.
The last preparation involved pulling as much of the basil as possible to not only dry the leaves, but to also collect seed. Many of the plants had gone to seed so we did not want to lose any to the moisture.
There is no way to cover the Luffa wall so all we can do is wait and see what happens. We’ve read that a slight freeze on Luffa Squash loosens the skin so makes the Luffa easier to harvest.
Now we hunker down and wait for the storm to pass.
See our garden prep work on the farm’s YouTube Channel:
Looks like we will be having an early winter this year but we still have a lot of carrots and beets! It’s time to put row cover over the hoops for these root vegetables and see how long they will last.
We are trying two different approaches. The carrots on the right will just be covered with the fabric. The beets on the left are covered with hay AND the fabric to double insulate. Beets are more susceptible to the cold than carrots so we thought they may need extra help to keep from freezing.
We had great success last year when we winter covered for the first time. We only covered the carrots and they lasted until almost Thanksgiving! In addition to surviving the winter weather they also lasted into January after harvested and refrigerated.
Let’s see how long we can make the carrots and beets last this winter!
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.