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

Dandelion Winter

Early spring blooms

Winter came back with a vengeance this past weekend. First, we had a light snow on Saturday morning, then Sunday morning dropped down to 16 degrees Fahrenheit. Luckily, the cold was short-lived and I doubt the fruit trees saw any new damage.

Frozen cold frame

I went ahead and moved all of the plants out of the cold frame just to be on the safe side, and that was probably a wise move even though the interior temperatures only barely dropped below freezing. Unfortunately, when I put the plants back out on a sunny but frigid Sunday morning, I didn't take into account the power of the sun. By 2 pm, most of the broccoli plants had baked with the lid closed even though outdoor temperatures were still in the low to mid 40s. I guess I'll be starting some more broccoli seeds and paying more attention to the cold-frame cover next time. Even if the air feels cold, if the sun is out, the lid should be open!

Baby cabbage plants

On the plus side, I thought I'd messed up the cabbage seedlings, but they seem to have weathered Dandelion Winter just fine. A week ago, the long-range forecast only showed one low of 31 on the horizon, so I went ahead and set out the cabbage into the garden...then instantly regretted it when the weather report shifted dramatically. I covered the plants with row-cover fabric, crossed my fingers, and was thrilled to see that they seem to have come through the cold unscathed! So I guess we'll have early cabbage this year, and late broccoli.

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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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Cold frames are great but one small easy to make mistake and all is cooked! Wish there was something better than a thermal vent more like a solar powered lift?
Comment by Jim Mon Mar 30 08:12:58 2015
Twenty seven degrees Saturday night turned my blueberry blossoms to mush. They were in full bloom so no berries this year.
Comment by Errol Mon Mar 30 08:56:24 2015
sounds like a tittle for your next book.
Comment by Laura Mon Mar 30 11:39:21 2015
Go to Harbor Freight Tools and get yourself a cold frame automatic vent. It's cheaper than some of the catalogues and works just as well. I have two and they work great! Plants did not have any problems in the cold frame except for the lettuce which I think accidentally got crushed when one of the small pots seemed to have fallen on it. Don't ask... too complicated to explain.
Comment by Na Yan Mon Mar 30 15:18:51 2015
Oh i sympathize about the broccoli plants. I have burned up more things in a cold frame from forgetting to open it...
Comment by deb Mon Mar 30 22:41:05 2015

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