Winter, Winter, Go Away

Reader Contribution by Amanda "mandi" Kemp
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As I stepped out into my garden, the infamous words of Dorothy Parker echoed in my head. “What fresh hell is this?” 

There was snow on the ground.  Snow!

Ice on top of my cold frames. 

My poor peas, all covered in ice.  Not to worry, they are showing no worse for the wear.

Now, for a little background, I live in Delaware where there are years when we don’t get any snow all winter long. This year, we have had quite a bit of it (for us; my friends in colder climes point and laugh at me). At any rate, winter has been the loser cousin whose weekend visit turned into three months of  couch surfing and bogarting the remote. 

My friend, Wendy, from Surviving the Suburbs, raised the question of what folks might do in the case of another Year Without a Summer like 1816 when a volcanic eruption and low solar activity combined to cause record low temperatures and crop failures.

My first thought? Cry. Then, pull myself up by my big girl overalls and get down to work.

1.  I would keep using my cold frames and perhaps create an inexpensive greenhouse from sheet plastic and PVC.  However, I might have to give up on tomatoes all together. 

2.  Maintain the usage of my very high tech, individual plant protection devices (5-gallon plastic buckets).

3.  Keep growing cold weather vegetables like peas, kale, lettuces, cabbage, carrots, etc. While they lack the sex appeal of the hot-weather tomatoes, peppers and corn, these crops are just as nutritious.

4.  Rely on years past canned and dried vegetables. Crop failure is exactly why I stay up late into the night during canning season, processing every vegetable I can get my hands on. I might not need over a hundred quarts of tomatoes before the next gardening season, but who’s to say I’ll get any then? Bird in the hand … you know the rest.

I pray that this is only a hypothetical exercise, but it never hurts to be prepared. Just in case. Though maybe we could try an intervention to get winter to leave. Anyone know a good seasonal mediator?

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