Although it is a one-way relationship, I feel very involved with my local weatherman. I want to cut off this little fling – by trying to learn to predict weather all by myself. But I am not there yet, so I listen with rapt attention to his predictions and study his maps full of whirling clouds, pressure fronts, and temperatures.
He started talking about a freeze.
I know, every location has jokes about their weather. But seriously, I’ve felt a drop in 20 degrees in just a few minutes here. And even without the weatherman telling us, we were starting to grab for jackets.
Don’t you just love getting into your winter coat and discovering whatever you left in the pockets from last spring?
That evening we went about dripping faucets and groggily trying to remember what the winter routine was. But it was 65 degrees last night, how bad could it be?
Apparently, it can get very bad. It got down to 20 degrees. Winter crops like broccoli and kale can normally handle 20 degrees , especially with a bit of protection, but apparently they cannot if the night before it was only 65.
I looked at the garden with hope. Hope sometimes works, but most of the time it is simply away to delude yourself. Even though my plants had been healthy, the extreme drop killed about half of what I had growing. Broccoli, brussel sprouts, beets, turnips, and cauliflower. The lettuces and mustards really suffered, and then eventually died. Fortunately the onions, spinach, and wild greens weren’t bothered much at all.
Better than hope, I went into my pantry and found solace in the stored summer bounty of pumpkins, squashes, corn, pickles, jellies, and other dried or canned foods.
I know my rabbitry can go down to the low 20’s and I’ll drain the water if I believe it will get colder than that. So, the morning after, I also had the joy of fixing broken pipes. BTW, the bunnies were fine – as I mentioned before, growing meat is often easier than fruits and veggies.
Believe it or not, large losses like this are fairly common among organic farmers and gardeners and a huge reason why diversity is crucial. Life is always throwing something at you – crazy weather, insects, marauding chickens who snuck in a hole in the fence… In fact, you will rarely ever get to harvest everything you planted.
Do not get upset over failures, learn from them and go on.
Marjory Wildcraft is an Expedition Leader and Bioneer Blogger with The [Grow] Network, which is an online community that recognizes the wisdom of “homegrown food on every table.” Marjory has been featured as an expert on sustainable living by National Geographic, she is a speaker at Mother Earth News fairs, and is a returning guest on Coast to Coast AM. She is an author of several books, but is best known for her “Grow Your Own Groceries” video series, which is used by more than 300,000 homesteaders, survivalists, universities, and missionary organizations around the world.