Thursday, December 3, 2009

The First Freeze

This morning at about 5:30 it was 32.2 F. About an hour later it was up to 32.4 F, so it looks like tomorrow and maybe Saturday morning will be the real cold ones. This gradual dropping over 3 nights is actually better than a sudden swing in dropping temps overnight, and helps to harden plants off, or acclimate them. This is much better than to shock them from 60 degrees to 28 degrees as it sometimes does in N. Texas.

Late blooming fall tomatoes and assorted squash are hunkered
down in the mini hoop house to escape the frigid weather.

The plant plugs, little tiny seedling plants, that were ordered came in from sunny CA yesterday on the Fed Ex truck. They are sitting on the back porch for right now to get conditioned to Dallas weather gradually. Today, I'll move them outside and back in tonight, doing the same tomorrow. Then Saturday, we'll put them in the greenhouse - once the freezes are past - until we can get them in the ground. The beds are ready, just need the top inch or so to drain off so we can level the rows off and plant.

In addition to what is out there now, we will be growing 3 different types of lettuces, artichokes, which are a perennial plant that harvests around May, meaning we'll have artichoke plants growing every year getting better and better, and another round of broccoli.

Plants this time of the year grow very slowly as we barely have 10 hours of actual useful sunlight a day. But they do grow. By putting in a second round of some things, we should be able to have better successive harvests and early harvests in the spring - late winter.

On the recommendation of a fellow farmer, I'm currently reading a couple of books about winter farming by Eliot Coleman who grows all year around up in Maine where it gets way below 0 degrees F in the winter. If they can do it, I know we can. We just have to keep in mind we can't make the sun shine more hours a day than it is, so there will be some slow time here until February, when the daylight hours increase sufficiently more again to spur new rapid growth. He offers some great insight on this subject and a whole list of cool veggies I'd like to try here, too, that combined with some of his techniques, should widen our offerings of winter produce of mostly greens.

The crops we got in before the days shortened are looking good. The Pak Choi and Mesculin mix is covered up just because I didn't want to risk it if we got sleet or whatever they don't predict. It won't kill the plants, but it can make them look sorry and get soggy as they thaw back out. Ever eat frozen lettuce? Ick. Saturday, we'll uncover them and give them a shower with fish and seaweed and let them soak up some sunshine.

IF you happen to be one of those folks who rakes up your leaves up into bags and drags them to the curb - AND you don't use any chemical fertilizers or herbicides on your lawn, you can bring those leaves over to the farm. We will put them in our compost piles. (I would rather try to encourage you to mow them and leave them on your own lawn as a free fertilizer and cover/protection for it, but if you do rake, we'll take them and help keep them out of the dump.)

So that is the farm report from the weather bunny for the day. Tomorrow and Saturday are the real tests for our hoophouse'd tomatoes. I'll take some pics and open it up and see what's what in there later today, but I think they are all nice and toasty in there. Well, relative to being outside they are toasty. :)

Snowflakes made a brief appearance at Eden's Wednesday
morning, accompanied by another inch of rain.

Don't forget, this weekend is a meet and greet at 12:30 after market day. New potential CSA supporters are coming to see the farm, meet me and they'd love to hear your story about why you help support Eden's Garden and eat local, organic (clean) food.

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

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