Scrambling Time

| 10/23/2013 8:01:00 PM

Tags: garden, gardening, raised bed, winter, hoop houses,

Of Mice and Mountain MenToday it was time to scramble. I’m not talking about eggs either – although I did scramble up some eggs and fried some turkey bacon for breakfast this morning. The scrambling I’m referring to is the dashing-frantically-around-to-get-something-done sort of scrambling.

It rarely gets cold-cold here in Tennessee before December. If we get snow at all it’s in February. On the rare occasion we’ll get a snowfall around Christmas, but that’s very rare. On that basis I was not in a big hurry to get my garden boxes covered in plastic for protection from winter weather, since winter weather was months away yet. Except it’s not.

The weather guessers have been saying that we can expect overnight low temperatures around 29 degrees over the next couple of days. That’s cold enough to do some serious damage to my squash. Rain is expected as well – although it’s not clear if the rain will be first then cold or the other way around. They’re not talking about snow, so I suspect it will be cold overnight and rain during the day after it warms. If that’s the case, my lettuce and Brussels sprouts should be OK, they just need protection from the cold winds.

A couple of weeks ago I bought my annual roll of 6 mil semi-transparent plastic which I use to cover the boxes.  It’s been sitting here, ready to go to work ever since. That 29-degree forecast is for tonight/tomorrow morning, so today is the last day I have to get this done.


My garden is done all in raised beds, because we live on the side of a mountain and this is the only way I can garden that doesn’t just wash away every time it rains. I have fence boxes made from PVC pipe and poultry mesh to keep the rabbits out of my crops. In the winter I can add the plastic sheeting to provide better protection from the elements. How much protection is needed depends on what is inside.

10/28/2013 9:18:00 AM

I can understand that Dave: I don't think I'd bother in Nebraska either. But our weather is much milder here and I can continue to grow some of our foodstuffs, so I do. But I only plant about half of the boxes -- the other half are too shaded in the winter because the sun sits so low in the sky it falls behind a tree line. So those I do the same as you and cover over with mulch to lie fallow. I also keep compost piles going through the winter to use in enriching the soil in the winter boxes before spring planting. Enjoy hibernation :-)

10/24/2013 1:26:32 PM

Allan, what a sweet setup you have. I don't really try to extend the season here in Nebraska. After nine months of gardening, I'm ready to wind down and settle into a Winter rest period. I'm busy into the garden cleanup and preparation for the deep mulching for the winter months. I like to cover the garden area with about a foot deep mulch which will compost down over the winter into about two to three inches by Spring. By the time fall comes around again the mulch has turned into compost or nearly so. It's a process that I started last fall and seems to be working quite well. Good luck with saving all your plants. ***** Have a great Fall day in the garden.

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