Gardening · Homesteading · Urban Homesteading

Cold Weather Protection for Fall Crops

It doesn’t much more than this color in a maple leaf to tell us in the Pacific Northwest that Fall is here…..

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Fall here brings the rain back, but it also has plenty of warm afternoons and sun. Just much shorter days though, and it cools off quickly. The garden still grows happily.

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But with Fall here, the “Fall Crops” need to watched over. They enjoy the cooler temperatures but need help once the temperatures dip below 40* at night.

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This year I have been growing a Fall crop of green peas, which I planted August 1st. They are now about twice as big as this photo, and are covered in blooms.

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Totally unrelated….I finally bought myself a present that I found for a cheapie deal on Groupon – a metal photo sign of my farm name 😉 Now to get it hung, although I might wait till next spring 🙂

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Oh the maple trees though….I can never get enough of the color when they turn in Fall. Today I looked out and the tree has lost nearly all its leaves already. Oh too soon!

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Speaking of the colder weather, I found on Amazon a cheapie deal (for $19.99 shipped!) of the Homewell Compact Greenhouse Cloche 71″L x 36″D x 36″H.

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You’d think it was someone’s personal home….

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But I can’t complain, he was helping me at least.

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Even if he did zip himself inside….it has a little door even.

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Once I talked him out of the little home, we set it up on the Swiss Chard bed:

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It has proven to work well, although I do have to watch it during the day – for now I leave the roof windows open, and if it is sunny I need to water daily. But overall it has been great for my chard, which has grown strong the past 2 weeks. It’s a little shorter than the bed (it is 71″ long and I want to say the bed is 8 feet), so I left one row exposed, to see how it fares.

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Another easy way to make a covered bed, especially if you have a frame in already, is to use Seed & Frost Material.

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I bought it in a 50 foot roll, you can also source smaller amounts in 25 foot rolls and a Easy Gardener 40154 10-Feet by 12-Feet Plant Protection Blanket. Since my peas have a bamboo frame that has twine strung on them, I was able to drape it over, and used the plastic pins they sell to hold to the ground. I am able to source the fabric at our local hardware store, tucked in with the weed block fabric. It breathes nicely, so you can leave it on all the time. It adds between 4 and 8 degrees of warmth, but won’t overheat like plastic can. It also lets water through. You can cut it size, and pop over trees as well, in case a freak frost comes early or late. Very useful to have a roll of it on hand!

On a side note, I also picked up one bale of straw and laid out insulation around all our fruit trees, many of our blueberries, and the beds with winter garlic and onions. It’s a cheap way to do it, and in the spring you can compost it.

Coming up next, I will be writing about putting together simple hoop houses using the fabric for a more intensive off-season crop protection.

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