Sunday, November 22, 2015

First Snowfall


We had our first snowfall last night:

First Snowfall
 
Not a huge amount of snow fell - in fact you can still see the green grass underneath:

Ice & snow crusted grass
 
I picked all of the broccoli earlier in the week, so that is safely in my fridge.  The unprotected mizuna has a bit of a droop to it now, although on closer inspection, the leaves still look surprisingly fresh:

Mizuna - a bit droopy, but otherwise still looking ok
 
The kohlrabi looks none the worse after the snowfall either:

The kohlrabi looks exactly as it did before
the snowfall & cold temps
 
Wish I could say the same for the covered lettuce bed.  For the hoops, I have been using poly tubing - the same stuff that I use for the drip irrigation.  It's firm, but flexible, easy to cut, UV resistant, the perfect width to slide over the rebar (which I use as side supports) and much less expensive than PVC.  It works amazingly well during the summer & I had no issues, regardless of wind or heavy rainfall.  But unfortunately, this is what happened to it last night:

Poly tubing - obviously not the best choice in the winter
 
There is still a nice gap between the Agribon and the lettuce, so I'm not too concerned about that.  In fact, the last time I was able to grow a nice bit of lettuce this late in the season, I simply laid the Agribon directly on top and it did just fine.  I won't be going in there to find out how it fared until temps go above 0C/32F.  The cardinal rule of harvesting lettuce during a cold snap is that you don't harvest while it's frozen.  You must wait until it thaws out first otherwise you will have a mushy mass instead of beautiful, crisp leaves.

I'm thinking the poly collapsed because of ice or prolonged cold - we are in a bit of a cold spell and temps are not supposed to go above freezing for a couple of days.  So lesson learned - I'll still be using the poly over the summer, but once colder weather hits, I'll have to switch the few beds that are left to PVC...or I may just build a cold frame.  Hmmm...now that's a thought :)

Till next time....

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

14 comments:

  1. Hi Margaret
    I think a real coldframe is a must! The fabric works great for most situations, but when you start adding in snow, it's vital to have something a bit more sturdy.
    I just double stack a couple of raised beds and add on a storm window. That's my EARLY salad bed.......and if I EVER get off my duff and do a fall garden-I'll use it then as well.
    We got a tad more snow than you. It sure is pretty out. Won't last long--the temps are supposed to warm up again later this week, but for now---WOW!
    :)

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    1. I've been tossing around the idea of building a removable cold frame type of contraption that I could use on the existing raised beds for a long time now. Or possibly building a dedicated cold frame along a west facing wall. Maybe next year will be the year I actually make it happen! The snow is lovely - but this afternoon the cold was bitter. We went to the village Santa Clause Parade and we were ice cubes by the time we got home. We now have a fire blazing in the hearth - nothing feels better! Enjoy the snow while it lasts!

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  2. We beat you as our first snowfall was the night before, not as much as yours though and it didn't hang around. That's the problem with covering beds, any weight and it collapses. It's a case of weighing up which is the most damaging, collapsed coverings or leaving the crops exposed.

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    1. You had snow? Wow - I would have thought that it wouldn't show up on your doorstep until December or even January. Yup, my setup definitely didn't hold up to the winter weather. I'm thinking that the coldframe idea sounds good and will be giving that some thought so that I can be ready for next winter.

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  3. Oh, wow! this is so interesting to me! I'm glad you posted all those pictures of snow. I'm glad some people get seasons. Trying to grow vegetables in a climate like that is surely different than here where temperatures will reach high 80s by mid-afternoon and relative humidity is 10%.

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    1. Thanks Jane! Living in a snowy climate, we don't generally think about how foreign snow is to those from warmer regions. We do enjoy our winter wonderlands, but by late January/February, everyone had had enough and the long 1-2 month wait for warmer weather seems interminable. One might say that our garden challenges when it comes to the weather are "polar" opposites ;)

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  4. Your kohlrabi looks great and the mizuna still looks really green. We actually had our first hard freeze last night, surprising there's still lots of green in the asparagus bed.

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    1. The asparagus surprised me - I didn't really know what to expect. Our first freeze came and went a few weeks ago and only now is it starting to go a bit brown amongst all of the gold.

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  5. Too bad about the poly tubing. I would have thought it would have held up better to a light snow. Of course you know I am a big fan of cold frames. I know once you have one (or more) you will be too. We had a hard freeze here last night and the lettuce was frozen stiff in the cold frame, but looked great later in the day once it warmed up above freezing. I hope your lettuce holds up too!

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    1. I'm sure that once I have a cold frame, it will be a case of wondering what I ever did without one. We are going to have above freezing temps by Tues or Wed so I'll be pulling back the Agribon then - some frigid temps are expected in the meantime (-8C/18F) so fingers are crossed that the lettuce pulls through ok.

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  6. I have always heard that using irrigation tubing was the best way to go for hoops, so seeing how they failed here is very helpful to me. Thanks!

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    1. I'm glad you found it helpful - learning from each others experiences is one of the best things about blogging!

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  7. We got a bit of snow as well. And that same thing happened to one of my hoop frames last year. Good luck on your fall garden!

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    1. It's all about experimenting, isn't it. Sometimes things don't work out but they are all learning experiences.

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