Sunday, October 30, 2011

The survivors

I'm slowly learning that which varieties are cold hardy and freeze tolerant.
 Here are the details, in the above bed are bulls blood beets, sputnik arugula, red champoin radishes, and a few Chiogga beets.  Below are Napoli and Royal Chantenay carrots.  Both of these beds are currently being protected by row cover only.
 This bed contains Cortland yellow onions, Rossa di Milano red onions, Lincoln and Scotland Leeks.  These are under plastic and are going to get an added mulch of leaves and straw in the next week, we're hoping to overwinter these until spring.

Rainbow Chard above, before a good trim down so that we can place some row cover without breaking too many leaves.
I haven't pictured them here but I still have Lacinato Kale, Waltham broccoli, and Champion collard greens without any extra cover at all.  We're going to eat these up then pull them out once the snow flies.
It turns out that this part of the garden maintenance is pretty low key and very high yield for the amount of time and work I'm putting in.  And yes, I have some help as always.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hard Freeze

We knew it was coming, but it has been such a beautiful mild autumn that we almost forgot.  Yesterday we readied the winter garden as best we could and said farewell to our warm season crops.   For us that amounts to bringing a lot of "almost ripe" tomatoes inside, picking some baby eggplants and small okra, and picking every last pepper that looks close.
We also draped some row cover over our greens, carrots, and root veg.
Also, on our last trip to California we made a stop at Peaceful Valley Garden Supply and procured some 6 mil greenhouse plastic to establish some tougher hoop houses for this winter
The low last night was 28 degrees F, so after I finish my second cup of coffee this morning I'll go see what survived and how my winterizing projects are going.  I'll let you know.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

To the coast ...

Last week, we headed to California for a vacation.  There is something magical about the Northern California coast.
Despite cool weather and cold water, we couldn't resist some time on the beach.
We got a little more cold and wet than planned.

We also spent some time in the Napa Valley where we took a hike in Robert Louis Stevenson state park.
Yes, it was a little chilly, but none of us really minded, we had fleece and hats.

We tasted some beautiful wines, of note we visited 3 biodynamic wineries which turns out to be a really fantastic integration of organic farm and vineyard.  Thanks to Quivira, Truett Hurst, and Littorai for allowing us to check out the gardens as well as tasting beautiful wines.
The kind people at Failla gave us a tour of their cave and Carson got to check out the grape crushing process.
On our last day, we visited the Hendry winery where we had one of the most informative tastings I have ever had, not to mention a really kid friendly environment.

Upon our arrival home our own garden was full of produce that survived the 40 degree nights while we were gone.  We're pretty much eating out of the backyard this week.
It was a great trip.  Its also really nice to be home.

Winter, finally (and seriously)

I planned to start this blog last spring as my garden flew into action, but then got into the actual work of gardening and abandoned the task. However, today its winter, really winter. I'm wearing long underwear and sitting under a blanket and I'm still cold.
Today is the shortest day of the year so from here on in it gets better. I look forward to longer days, that's for sure. But I'll also tuck in and enjoy winter's freeze and snow, it does mean skiing after all. Maybe more importantly is the snow pack - without snow there isn't water for the West.
The end of the year and the solstice are a good time to think back on the last 365. I have no reason to complain and feel really lucky about the last year and really hopeful about the year to come.