We are completely amazed! This is the spinach from last year growing. We originally had it under a tunnel along with lettuce which lasted almost into February due to a mild winter. After the lettuce finally gave in to a freeze we took the cover off and let the spinach do whatever it was going to do.
Surviving multiple snow storms this spinach is sweet with tender thick leaves. Unbelievable that we can possibly have a perennial spinach growing here! We are tempted to see if the same spinach will last another winter!
It’s March 22, 2021 and we are still experiencing snow storm after snow storm so we have not started planting outside yet. Even the transplants inside seem to be growing slowly since the entire house is colder than usual. The good news is snow quickly melts in our area so hopefully it won’t take too long to warm up enough to at least get the first seed in the ground, even if we have to put a covered tunnel over the row to keep it warm during this weather volatile spring.
We are happy to say that although it is mid November we still have edible lettuce, spinach cilantro and a large variety of root vegetable. Leaving covers over low growing caterpillar tunnels has greatly extended our growing season this year.
When there is a nice day we just open the tunnels, harvest what we would like for the next couple days and give the row a sprinkle of water so the vegetables do not dry out.
In the end we had lettuce into February, carrots and beets in March and the spinach never died. It continues to grow! Even the cilantro roots are starting to grow again.
It just takes a little persistence to keep vegetables protected and lightly watered to have fresh veggies all winter!
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:
This time last year we were just finished growing our broccoli transplants inside. With just two to three leaves the delicate plants were planted in the ground. No sooner had we planted, a snow storm came through so we were forced to cover it in hopes it would survive. Amazingly, not only did they survive, the thrived! I knew it was a cold weather plant but didn’t know the resilience it had.
This year we planted the broccoli inside earlier, transplanted outside earlier and now it’s got a great start for the year. Due to our heat, and broccoli being a cold weather crop, we usually get our main harvest later in the season when it’s cooler. This year we started getting broccoli heads much earlier and overall the plants were more productive. They had grown so large by summer they shaded the ground which kept the roots cooler and there was broccoli every time we wanted it!
Lessons learned! Not only do we get more broccoli in a year, but we now are trying to extend the growing season on other crops by using our
Thank goodness we have growing tunnels! We knew it was coming. We had planted spinach, lettuce, broccoli, beans and all the root vegetables under protective covers and we had our spring snow. The lowest point of the storm the temperature reached 10 degrees! Everything survived!
It’s amazing how a little agricultural fabric can increase the temperature in the tunnel up to 20 degrees higher than the outside. Especially if it was very warm when the tunnel was closed down. In this case it was.
Last year and this year the green beans were damaged even with the fabric so we’ve decided they are not good for early planting. Nursing them along last year to hopefully get some bean production was a mistake. The flavor of the beans were not good, and the plants fell to disease. They germinate so fast there is no reason to try and plant them early.
The meteorologists are not projecting any more spring snow so we can finally start planting summer season vegetables!
It worked! It’s almost Christmas and the beets are still being harvested in great condition! A little hay and a fabric cover hooped over the row of beets have kept them just the right temperature through multiple snow storms.
The cold snaps the root vegetables experienced under the covered hoop tunnels actually made them taste even better! The carrots were so sweet and even the beets had a brighter flavor. Also, the texture of the beets were not as hard as they usually are during the summer.
The extra beets were eventually pulled just before a multi-day near zero temperature spell. We did not want to potentially lose them to the freeze. Are finishing the harvest, the beets lasted in the fridge into February!
Since there were so many beets we tried our hand at pickled beets which is something my mother used to feed me when I was growing up. This too was successful.
2019 was the best year to date for successfully storing and preserving excess vegetables!
Every time we think winter is over we get assaulted by a freeze or snow! It’s only a couple days before Memorial Day and we had a snow storm that dropped 6-7 inches of snow!
It wasn’t really supposed to snow. A light dusting they said. Will melt as it hits the ground they said. When we came home from work it was already snowing and sticking! We frantically covered everything as fast as we could while we felt the temperatures plummet!
As you can tell from the picture we had a lot of plants to cover. Here is the laundry list of what is buried under the snow: garlic, carrots, broccoli, beans, beets, turnips, parsnips, radishes, lettuce, spinach and onions. Luckily we had already built tunnels for the broccoli and greens since they were planted early so we just needed to pull the fabric down the sides. But the remaining vegetables had just surfaced with a few leaves so we quickly laid the fabric on the ground directly over the plants.
Just before bedtime it was still snowing so hard we didn’t want the tunnels to collapse overnight. We went out with our head lamps on and tried to carefully clear 3 inches of snow off the tunnels. Since the fabric is fairly light it easily tears if mistreated. When we woke in the morning it was still snowing! We cleared off the snow again accidentally making a small tear in the broccoli tunnel, but not enough to be detrimental. The bean row was looking a little rough because of the height the beans so we pulled the fabric off and turned pots upside down between the plants and draped the fabric back over. This lifted the fabric off the plants to keep the the stems from breaking from the pressure.
The forecast kept extending the 32 degree weather causing us to have to leave covers over the plants for 4 days! Finally, on the 5th day, we completely uncovered all the rows and are happy to report the only damage was freezing of some of the bean leaves. Luckily we have plenty of collected seed from these heirloom beans so will be able to quickly replant.
In the end everything we learned over the past couple years about using row covers and tunnels saved this year’s crop. Although all of this spring’s bad weather delayed the growth of the plants this year, we are excited to say we haven’t lost the fight to get vegetables out to our customers!
See the garden rows under snow and then the reveal that shows they survived!
While most farmers in the U.S. have already started planting, we have once again been delayed due to a massive snow storm. This one made national news. A bomb cycle is a weather event when the pressure drops significantly more than usual causing high speed winds and in this case an extreme temperature drop and many inches of snow. We stayed home from work to be sure we didn’t get stuck trying to get home to take care of the animals. That happened once before we got the chickens, thank goodness.
This storm resulted in a white out and many people were stuck on highways for over 24 hours. We ended up with a 5 1/2 foot drift 40 feet in length that blocked our road. Note the snow height on the far side of the tractor in the picture.
While the man of the house was plowing out the 1/2 mile long dirt road, the lady of the house was shoveling snow off the walk ways, including the path to the coop. You are probably asking yourself, “don’t you have a snowblower?” We do have a very large one but the snow was so wet and heavy it’s not able to do it’s job! They say people can easily have a heart attack shoveling snow and I agree, especially under these circumstances!
It will take a while for this deep snow to melt but the moisture should really help when we finally get to bed prepping.
Get a glance at our view of the bomb cyclone from inside our house on the farms YouTube Channel:
After pulling up the pumpkins in spring due to cross-pollination and then cleaning them out due to the hailstorm, they now went through snow which devastated the plants. But look! We still managed to get over 50 pumpkins? That’s 3 growing cycles the plants went through in this areas short growing season! Clearly squash plants like our environment!
Pumpkins are the last item to harvest for the 2018 growing season. Nothing else survived the October snow except our wintering over carrots which are now in a covered tunnel. If you didn’t see the post on the tunnels you can see how well they wintered over last year. Search on tunnel.
So what are the sales figures for the year? Let’s just say we lost this year. The hailstorm took it’s toll. The bees swarmed and either left or died last year so we are not able to harvest any honey this year. The new bees we got in the spring need to build up their stores for the winter.
I also need to personally take the blame on lost sales on eggs. We have had these chickens for over 2 years and I didn’t have the heart to get rid of them to bring in fresh new egg layers. I had convinced myself that they would continue to lay enough to cover our egg customers and I was wrong. Not only did they slow down they also started laying strange shaped eggs and started to have physical difficulties. Kind of like a woman in menopause, but unfortunately a chickens egg laying system can be fatal when they don’t work properly and that was the case here. We are starting to lose chickens to old age issues. Lesson learned. New chicks are in order for next year.
See what’s left of the garden on the farm’s YouTube Channel: