Winter Garden and Snow Pictures

Just a few pictures of the first blizzard of 2013. This was one of the biggest we’ve had since we moved here. School was cancelled and even my husband was told not to go in due to the hazardous driving conditions. Here is a picture that I took early in the morning while the snow was still coming down.

October 4 2013

It snowed most of the day on Friday. My husband spoiled me rotten and took care of all of the chores going out often to make sure our new baby goats were doing well. We did have to move the wether that lives with the buck into the doe pen. The Duke (our buck) decided not to let Zooko in their house. We are going to get Zooko his own house in the ‘boys pen’ before the next snow. Usually they share with no problem so not sure what was up with The Duke during the storm.

On Saturday the sun was shining and my husband spent several hours digging things out. The snow had drifted rather high in places.
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The goats were happy to be able to go out.

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Joe made trails for the chickens and ducks. They stayed crowded together for a while but then started venturing out. We did lose a young chick on Sunday. 🙁

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Our winter garden is under the snow. Joe moved a little snow off the glass to see how everything fared.

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And here is the garden on Sunday. The snow had melted off nicely and it looked terrific.

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This is the first time we’ve tried anything but a summer garden (and we’ve yet to be overly successful with that). We didn’t have as much come up as we were hoping. The box on the far left really didn’t have much come up at all. In the middle box the kale, radishes and tatso did well.

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On the box in the right has perpetual spinach, beets (for greens) and mizuna. I also planted mache in the box but only a couple of those came up.

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We did do a little replanting but not sure if the weather will be okay for anything else to come up. We used the cold frame plans from Eliot Coleman’s Four Season Harvest (that’s an affiliate link) but did change the dimensions to fit our ‘glass’. The glass, is shower doors. I got a pair on freecycle a couple of years ago. Unfortunately one of the pair met an unhappy ending. The other two (the clear ones) came from our local Habitat for Humanity store at a cost of $1 each.  We bought scrap pieces of lumber to build the boxes (from the scrap bin at our hardware store).  The biggest cost was for the soil. We purchased that using the recommendations in Coleman’s book. The cold frames are on the south side of our garage.

We only did the three boxes this year as a test. According to Coleman planting two 4 x 8 foot boxes per person will provide fresh food all winter. He is in zone 5, we are in zone 4.  He also recommends a second layer of protection in the form of a low tunnel. I don’t think a low tunnel would hold up well with our wind. I’m going to try some alternative methods for keeping the boxes warm when the temperatures dip. I’ll let you know how those go.

 

Update: We were able to harvest greens from our garden until early December. Then we were hit with super cold temperatures dropping down to negative 15 at night. That was the end of our winter test garden. We definitely need more protection for those types of extreme cold. We learned quite a bit and have some ideas for next year.

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