Sunday, January 6, 2008

LIfe in the yard 2 days after temps dropped below 25

Well, our temperatures dropped to at least 25 degrees two nights in a row this week, and did not rise above freezing for 24 hours of that time. Also, while the garden plants were frozen solid, we had a wind of 35 knots that blew directly against my little garden beds. The remaining lettuce and most of the fava beans turned black and essentially melted to the ground. The kale, collards, beets and carrots were not affected. My favorite discovery is the way the fava beans responded to damage: they already have put out fresh new shoots from the ground to replace the larger growth that was killed outright or at least heavily damaged. I never have seen anything like it in the vegetable garden. I think these new shoots will grow more slowly for the rest of the winter, and will therefore be better able to handle upcoming cold weather. I now an excited to think that I may have fava beans in the spring, despite even bitter weather.

The bees also came out this afternoon, as temperatures rose to close to 70 degrees! I don't understand what they may be finding, especially after our plummeting temperatures this week, but they were bringing in loads of dark orange pollen. They never stop amazing me. Both hives still feel pretty heavy, but I will be keeping a close eye on them to make sure they do not risk starvation as winter settles in. I did put clean sticky boards in the hives to close off the screened bottom boards the evening before this cold front, and have left them in for now. I think that the extra draft protection may be necessary when we have temperatures in the 20s, especially with strong winds. I hope these two hives make it through their first winter.