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

Extra freeze protection for early strawberries

Early strawberry blooms

After frost-protecting apple branches, my eye next turned to the smaller garden plants. Despite recent warmth tempting me to set out tender seedlings, most of the garden is still pretty cold hardy. Lettuce, kale, peas, arugula --- all will likely coast along just fine on the soil's residual heat. Broccoli and onions have been under row covers since I set them out just in case. But what about the strawberries?

Most of our plants have their bloom buds only barely visible, but plants of the ultra-early variety I pushed ahead with a quick hoop are starting to bloom. And a blackened center of one flower proves that the quick hoop alone wasn't enough to protect that bloom from even our recent semi-mild freezes.

Row cover under a quick hoop

So how about an extra row cover under that quick hoop?

The real trick here will be remembering to disinter the plants during warm spells within our cold week. After all, flowers won't turn into fruits if they're not pollinated.

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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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