Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Wickedly beautiful

We are having a highly unusual ice storm here. It is supposed to last through today and tomorrow, then hang around another day as temperatures stay in the 20s. I just wanted a little snow. Instead I have porch screens turning into textured glass.

Friday, January 17, 2014

After the freeze

The heavy freeze we had last week left its mark on the garden. It dipped down to 17, and then stayed in the 20s for 24 full hours afterwards.

The best news is that the garlic, left unprotected, came through with flying colors. Here is one of the plants, with a new sheen of frost this morning. Harder hit, as expected, was the broccoli. The close up of a leaf shows the impact that a freeze of this level has on broccoli leaf tissue. The main stems are fine and, if left in the garden, would produce new leaves and side shoots in the spring. I'm done with these and soon will need the space, so I'll pull them up this week.

Last, the tangerine has lost all it's leaves, and many branches are beginning to brown. It will be awhile still until I can fully determine the damage. I expect lots of heavy pruning of dead branches will be needed!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Hens and the vortex

Hens can handle cold. Hens can handle wet. What they can't handle is cold AND wet. The ladies got a huge dry pile of wood shavings in the coop to help keep them warm tonight, and lots of dry straw in the run to keep them off the wet ground tomorrow. They should be fine now, no matter what the polar
vortex brings!

Citrus and vortex

All I can do with my medium sized tangerine tree is wrap the trunk to try and save the plant, if not the existing branches. It is just too large to do more. I am trying to hold a bit of today's soil warmth for the young tree. The full sized tangerine will just have to struggle through unprotected. It has lost branches before, but lived and produced again.

The tiny lemon and grapefruit each are getting a full blanket. I will be thankful if any of them survive, and I know that at the least many branches will be lost. Is it worth this risk of loss to pick tangerines in my yard at Thanksgiving? Absolutely.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


All signs point to temperatures dropping into the teens tomorrow night and staying well below freezing for a couple of days. Knowing that, I picked the rest of my orangequats, my tender broccoli buds and my one cabbage. Although possibly not necessary, I also picked the carrots. They were full size and beyond, and since they are in raised beds, much more likely to freeze than if they were below ground level.

The broccoli plants probably will survive, with damaged leaf edges. They mostly will serve to produce leaves for the hens for the rest of the winter, so I am not concerned. I have no kale this year, but if I did it would be left out, no worries.

My garden was fairly empty this fall, so I don't need to consider a light cover to trap the warmth of the day for the cold snap. The young garlic should do fine on its own, at least I hope so. Maybe I will give them a few inches of leaves just in case.