When I woke up today I decided I wasn't driving in to work. I got to enjoy the day with the kids in all the snow we got. I got my work done early and spent the afternoon attempting to sled, building snow men and forts, and having snow ball fights. At 1PM I measured 5 inches of snow and it was snowing when we came in around 6PM so I expect we got about 8" total. That is the most snow we have had while I have lived in Nashville. It was an amazing site. I was even able to sit outside and have some quiet time. Typically you hear planes flying over and cars running down the street and today there was none of that. It was a great day and looks to be another fun filled day tomorrow.
The coldest weather of the season came in with a roar Saturday night into early Sunday morning. I put the plastic up on the hoops over the lettuce and Pak Choy Saturday night about 10. I was awoken sometime during the night with popping of plastic. I assume it was the plastic whipping in the wind, but it was hard to see so early in the morning. When I went out yesterday morning part of the plastic had been blown off so I am sure that is what it is. I think the plants were exposed at least partially to some wind and some cold temperatures for a couple of hours. Also, it was down to 16 this morning so even though the plastic held last night I am not sure if the plants were damaged. I am going to assume they were and we will just see what happens.
I am testing out using a small hoop house this year so it will be interesting to see the results. I have wanted to do this for a couple of years now. If I gained 2 more months of lettuce crops then that was a win in my opinion. The Pak Choy would have made it to this point without the plastic.
It has also been a battle keeping the waters from freezing for the chickens and our rabbit. Yesterday I replaced the rabbit waterer several times and broke the ice in the chickens water several times as well. It really froze quickly in this cold weather.
I hope you all stay warm and your waterers stay thawed.
Here is my 2015 hits and misses list from the garden
At the Community Garden the early green beans, cucumbers, early tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and okra were all hits.
At our house the blueberries, jalapeno peppers, and watermelon were are only summer hits. The Pak Choy and lettuce have been good late autumn hits. The biggest overall hit was the sunflowers and zinnias. We will be planting more flowers next year.
At the Community Garden the main rush of tomatoes were decimated by deer and the sweet peppers did not perform as planned. Also, the squash did not do anything.
At our house the chickens decimated most of the garden once they started flying over the fences eliminated much of our peppers, green beans, and winter squash. The chickens and my placement of tomatoes really destroyed any hope of our having a good season. Always remember to plant tomatoes in a wide open space not even partial shade should be tolerated. I should have known better.
It has been cold finally the past couple of days. Monday the highs were in the 30s and I believe the low this week has gotten done to about 20. Just low enough to do some damage possibly to my bolted Chinese Cabbage and Lettuce. Looking at them this morning when I unrolled the plastic off the top of the hoops they looked a little crispy with frost. I hope the lettuce would last a little longer so I could eat all of it, but I am not sure.
I went to the community garden last week to see what kind of shape it was in. The deer had grazed the black eye peas I planted down. Most shocking of all is that the deer ate most of the okra. There were only about 15 dried up okra seed pods. That was well less than what I left on the stalks to dry up. I cleaned up what I could in the short amount of time I had, but I really need to address the garden this winter. I am not sure what the future of the community garden holds at this time. Last year I was the only one who worked in the garden and the deer decimated the tomatoes, okra, and peas. Also, I am not sure how much weekend time I will have early on this year so I am a little concerned. I still feel I need to do something for the property owner and can't leave the garden in the current condition. I have thought about putting in some tomatoes that are fenced somehow perhaps some okra and then just seeding the rest in flowers and possibly sun flowers to at least leave something nice to look at. I need to discuss this more with the property owner. It would actually make a good urban garden site if someone wanted to do that like Curtis Stone is doing which has been documented recently on the Permaculture Voices Podcast. I recommend listening to that Podcast if you have time.
Erich is an avid gardener who has his own home garden consisting of annual vegetable crops and as many perennial fruit plants he can possibly plant, runs a church sponsored community garden, tends his chickens and a rabbit, enjoys experimenting with growing techniques and living more sustainably.