Yesterday was a new record high for Santa Fe for Sunday, June 19, 2016. It hit 102°F in Santa Fe but it hit 104°F (40°C) here at the garden. Too hot to work outside unless it is in early morning or later towards sunset when it starts to cool down. So I am waiting today till about 5-6 pm and praying we get a few clouds overhead which would cool things down a bit and I can get a few hours in outside. Photo courtesy of http://cliparts.com
Wow! We got substantial snow out here on Tuesday! Blizzard like conditions for a while. The picture above was taken while driving home (I stopped to take it!) Just when you thought we were going to have an early spring. But those of us who have lived here for some time know better. We always get snow after a warm spell (we just broke some record for warmest day last week) and it seems to be that way every spring.
The picture above was about 5 inches at the time I took it during a break between storm cells. I ran out to take a picture and the birds ran out to the feeders between storms to feed too. It was about half the amount we actually ended up with. I measured 9-10 inches when it was all done but in town hardly any fell. What a delightful surprise for the trees and perennials plants out here who were getting thirsty!
Sure we had some light snow on November 6th but it only lasted a couple of hours and promptly melted off but it still felt like fall. This Monday November 16th we returned a day early from the San Juan River fishing trip because of a storm coming in. Didn’t want to be caught hauling an RV trailer on icy roads. Good thing we did as it turns out we had our first major snow and now it feels like winter. This pic was taken about 4 pm on Monday after coming home. We got about 5 inches total by Tuesday morning. Yikes! The garden is dead but isn’t out yet. I have to get it out soon before the ground freezes!
One of our indoor cats, Stella, always sits by a particular window looking out. I’m sure she’s looking at the birds outside and sees a mouse now and then too. It’s like it’s her TV. Yesterday, when I looked out her window with her, I understood why she always looks out this particular window. The view was stunning with the yellow leaves of the aspen trees and the snow falling softly on the ground. We didn’t get much snow, maybe a half an inch but between the cold wind and the snow, it made me pause to look out with her and enjoy the view.
Today was what I call windy ugly! It is just blasting outside which is exactly what our Aprils’ are about out here in Santa Fe. I thought we might not get it this year as we’ve had beautiful weather up till today. Spring is my least favorite season because it almost always is windy-really windy and the wind makes me crabby! I read that is because all the positive ions the wind whips up. Negative ions (like when it rains make us feel good and positive ions make us crabby!)
One year, about 11 years ago, the roof blew off my hay barn-literally the roof just lifted up-all 14′ x 24′ of it and landed on my neighbor’s property. When it hit, it left a 12″ deep dent where it hit the ground and exploded from the impact as pieces flew everywhere. Luckily nothing was damaged-no people or property. Just before the event, Elodie and I were down at the barn tightening up any screws on the roof (she was holding the ladder and I was on top of the roof and I had just gotten off the ladder when the wind came up and up and up. Elodie said “Well, this will be a good test” when a 70 mph micro-burst came into the barn, we heard a huge rip as it tore the roof off and the thing flew up in the air like one giant kite. Made me think of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when her house was lifted in the air. Elodie said, “That could have been you! You were just on the roof!” to which I chanted, ‘It wasn’t my time! It wasn’t my time!
PS: When I rebuilt the roof I put hurricane ties on the rafters so hopefully that won’t happen again. Today reminded me of that windy day!
Well here it is in early December and not surprisingly, most of the outside crops in the main garden, ‘bit the dust’ as they say—died. A few are still alive. It is warmer now—here are the results of those cold snaps we had.
The Toscana (aka Lacinato or dinosaur) kale got severely damaged. It is cold sensitive and although it’s not completely dead, it is unharvestable. Here it is with the leaves burned from the cold.
Russian Red kale
The Russian Red and Curly Leaf kale are still going and have some damage as well but the new growth is doing well. I haven’t watered them at all-nature has with a little snow and a nice rain the other day- almost an inch. I do have them covered with 2 layers of winter weight row cover.
The gourds are still drying in the field. Some are starting to get lighter in weight so I will put those in the garden shed to finish drying. The rest will stay outside until they dry more.
The green house is button up fairly tight now with just a little venting at the top panels. I’ve put the bubble wrap on all the windows (bubbles faced to the window) for extra insulation. I’ve also put the 4 barrels with water in them on the north wall for them to absorb heat in the daytime (I took them out during the summer), releasing the heat at night (the theory is that the sun which is lower and further to the south will hit them on the north wall and warm up in the daytime). I’m not sure I have enough barrels to do much good but even one degree will be helpful once it gets cold again.
I’ve planted 2 winter lettuce varieties in the green house as transplants back in early November. The cold hard varieties are a green variety-Winter Wunder and a red variety-Marshall Red Romaine. They both have made it so far through those cold snaps although they have slowed down in growth because of the shorter daylight hours. They will stop growing until sometime in January when the daylight hours start to get longer. Winter Wunder is my favorite lettuce but only grows well during the cold months. When it starts to get even a little warm, it will bolt. The lettuces have 2 layers of row cover over them at night and have some protection from the unheated greenhouse (at least from the winds). I’ve also noticed that the lettuces don’t need a lot of water now (about once every 2 weeks). It will be interesting to see if they make it Dec-February. Don’t they look wonderful in the winter!
There has been about a 4-7°F difference between the greenhouse temperature and the outside temperature at 7 am in the morning when I check everything. When I add the row cover at night I get about 4-6 degrees more protection. I’m not sure what to expect this winter since this is my first December-January in the greenhouse. Last year when we finished up the greenhouse I start planting on February 17th so now I will see if these established greens can survive Dec-Jan.
Unbelievably I haven’t had a HARD freeze here until last night. In October I had 2 nights where it was barely freezing and those did do some damage (nothing too severe) in the garden but we haven’t had a really HARD freeze till now.
The temperatures will be from the mid 30’s to high 20’s the next few nights here in Santa Fe so I guess old man winter is right around the corner. No matter, I picked my tomatoes just before the the first light frosts in October (not knowing how cold it would get that night).
I can’t ever remember having this warm of a fall. It’s been great for harvesting as I could take my time instead of rushing to get everything out. We usually get a hard freeze by mid-October so it’s been a wonderful fall for all us gardeners! Now it’s time to put the garden beds to rest.