The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Chilling down

Frost patterns
I'm writing this post Monday at 4:30 pm and setting it to auto-post Tuesday morning just in case the power goes out.  As I type, it's 12 degrees outside and 54 inside --- time to stoke the stove and get that fire blazing!

Carrots and apples
The carrots and apples from the fridge root cellar are nestled down under damp towels in the kitchen.  I figure the water will keep them crispy, and will also humidify the dry winter air.

Cold quick hoops

Frozen sproutsMeanwhile, I decided to go ahead and pick the rest of the brussels sprouts rather than saving them to savor over the next couple of weeks.  I noticed some freeze damage even under the quick hoops after the 8 degree low, so I wouldn't be surprised if they all get nipped Monday night.  I did leave the smallest sprouts behind, though, as a gamble. 

This is the kind of weather that prompts Eliot Coleman to grow his winter crops under row covers inside unheated greenhouses.  I'm glad we only have to deal with short Arctic outbreaks and enjoy a moderate winter most of the time.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Anna, what is your source for row cover? Are you using Agribon AG-19 or something similar? Thanks - Mike.
Comment by Mike Gaughan Tue Jan 7 14:18:02 2014
Mike --- We got our row cover fabric (AG-19) from Johnny's, which is pretty pricey, but not too bad if you get a big roll and use it for a decade. :-)
Comment by anna Tue Jan 7 18:53:38 2014
How do you prevent yours from tearing? After only one season, I had some pretty big rips... Not even sure what caused them, but its possible it was my neighbors "pet" raccoons. ( dont get me started). Anybody have reliable ways to repair the holes?
Comment by Deb Tue Jan 7 20:55:59 2014
I live directly across the Bay of Fundy from Elliot Coleman in Nova Scotia, it has been so cold that I have not been able to pick spinach to sell at the farmers market for two weeks. We also are not used to some many days of -15 plus wind chill, normal winter we have one week in mid Febuary of such cold and most of the winter is around 0 Celcius. We have three 90' low hoop houses planted for early spring sales but I am not sure what affect this sustained cold will do to the plants even under plastic and row cover. Time will tell, and we will adjust as needed. Bundle up and keep up the writing the both of you. brrrrrrrrrr time to go feed the cows
Comment by Craig Medicraft Wed Jan 8 05:52:10 2014

Deb --- I'm very, very careful with ours, and still get rips. But those are very easy to mend. I've already gotten three year out of our current set, and might have to change them out next year, but we'll see. I used to get a lot less time than that, though, out of row cover fabric when I used cold frames --- the structure of the quick hoops protects the fabric longer.

Craig --- Fascinating to hear that you live near Eliot Coleman and are doing the same thing --- almost like hearing straight from the horse's mouth! :-)

Comment by anna Wed Jan 8 08:31:35 2014

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