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Extreme Weather Kills

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.

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This post was written by Marjory

COMMENTS(0)

  • Tracilee Sullivan says:

    Hi,
    I found your website this morning following a link from my APN email and have been browsing all your articles since for unique ideas or ways to be more self-sufficient around my home. I came across this article and had hoped there’d be more info on protecting my garden from extreme elements, particularly heat. We live in a rather humid climate and I’ve never had issues with my garden until last year when everything began shriveling up due to extreme sun and heat. I tried everything I could think of from different watering times to trying to provide shade on extremely brutal days.

    I’m thinking of actually enclosing my garden area with some type of roof which would allow me even longer growing times but I don’t want to put anything above my plants that will actually increase exposure to sunlight. Will normal greenhouse plastic reduce the effect of harmful rays or is there some sort of “sunscreen” coating that will help protect my plants? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi Sullivan – my first question is, where are you located? But without knowing that, there is shade cloth that you can use to cover plants. In fact, many organic farmers here in TX use it to keep slalad greens going way longer than you might think possible.

      I have been working on ‘living shade cloth’ using a legume species – leuceana – which grows really fast and offers a nice dappled shade during the summer. But dies back in the winter (which is what I want as int he winter I want full sun). I’ve been experimenting with it for years. There is a section about it in the video set Grow Your Own Groceries. The leuceana species won’t do that well for latitudes north of say, Dallas, but I’ve spoken with Peter Bane the editor at the Permaculture Activist magazine and he uses a similar species in Illinois.

      But start out with shade cloth, its easier and you’ll know if it works. Then look into sustainable methods like trees.

    2. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi Sullivan – my first question is, where are you located? But without knowing that, there is shade cloth that you can use to cover plants. In fact, many organic farmers here in TX use it to keep slalad greens going way longer than you might think possible.

      I have been working on ‘living shade cloth’ using a legume species – leuceana – which grows really fast and offers a nice dappled shade during the summer. But dies back in the winter (which is what I want as int he winter I want full sun). I’ve been experimenting with it for years. There is a section about it in the video set Grow Your Own Groceries. The leuceana species won’t do that well for latitudes north of say, Dallas, but I’ve spoken with Peter Bane the editor at the Permaculture Activist magazine and he uses a similar species in Illinois.

      But start out with shade cloth, its easier and you’ll know if it works. Then look into sustainable methods like trees.

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