Saturday, December 5, 2009

It Happened. It Froze.

8:30 am. Right now i'm seriously wishing these darned trees had lost all their darned leaves and would let the morning sun shine through to resuscitate the frozen babies in my vegetable garden. Everything is frozen.
The peppers in their securely covered patch with lamp seem to be okay ... but not thrilled. Their onions cohabitants look stunned, and the garlics in the bed nearby look positively displeased with life.

The main vegetable patch under its tent city construction? I peer under the sheets and see a sorry sorry sight. A touch to a baby spinach leaf reveals stiff rigor mortis of plant body.  I have never tried to garden in an actual winter before, so this state of frozen garden inhabitants is quite unsettling, frustrating, and fear inducing. Will I fail in my winter crop as well as my summer? Will my hard work and love be repaid with dead plants, stunted and non-producing? Was i fooling myself thinking that "cool weather plants" really didn't mind getting a touch of a freeze?  This will be a learning experience for me - hopefully we'll get something to eat this winter (since i missed all my tomatoes this summer on a wedding vacation) and not just a whole lot of chicken snacks and compost.
9:30 am Hurry up, sun! The babies want to feel your warm embrace. If only the garden were on the other side of the house..... but then it would only get am sun, and that is insufficient.
 I'm noticing that i piled some leaves here and there as mulch. I was afraid to smother the plants underneath so i mushed them around exposing the tops of the lettuces etc to the air- but i think i should have just covered it all with leaves and maybe spared the plants underneath them. This freeze just caught me unprepared.

Have to keep reminding myself: gardening is learning. you do not know everything. you will make mistakes and kill plants occasionally.... i just wish they weren't plants i was counting on for food!
I live in zone 8 and have plans on moving to a northern version of zone 8 (yamhill valley in oregon). This is the first year i have seen a hard enough freeze to fill a bucket with more than an inch of ice.

9:45 am. Need to walk to the gym now, cooolld walk.... but i'm feeling hopeful. I pulled back a little bit of tent city to let the sunshine in, will leave the rest covered and light on peppers until i get back from yoga.... it looks like the peas are becoming happily pliable again, the little kales seem unphased, the broccolis thawing out.

12:30. Hope is in sight! I've pulled back some of the sheets and uncovered the peppers and turned their light off. Peppers have just a bit of frost bite on their edges, not bad. All the winter crops in the main garden seem to have sproinged back to life, great. Eggplants have bit the dust, but that was to be expected.

Looks like I may not be a failure after all.

So far so good!

What zone do you live and garden in?
What do you do as a gardener in winter time? When do you call it quits? What precautions do you take before freezes? What crops do you expect to survive and produce throughout the winter in your area?

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