Our first freeze will be on this Tuesday, Oct 12 which is pretty normal for Santa Fe. So I’ve been out harvesting like crazy as everything will either die (annuals) or go to sleep (perennials). In fact this whole week will have killing frosts so, for those of you who are waiting to finish harvesting, you got one more day before it gets bitter cold. The whole house is stuffed with all the crops from the season but it is good I finished up today and now can relax. I am done-finito and so is the garden. I will still have to compost or dispose of the plants but I can do that later. No sense in getting out in miserably cold weather this week unless necessary so I will cozy up inside with a nice fire!
Tomorrow night a freeze warning has been issued for our area in Santa Fe.
It could get colder or it might miss your garden, but to be safe, I will be putting row cover over any veggies/fruits I still want to protect and harvest.
The weather people have been changing the forecast everyday and sometimes several times a day lately. They think it will be above just above freezing but the wind chill will drive down the temperature to feel below freezing and I’m not willing to take that chance after spending all these months growing veggies. If it does go down to freezing, my garden will be protected. I think it will be a new record low if it does hit 32°F as the previous record for our first freeze was in October, but never in September. What a weird year-record heat one day and threat of a freeze the next day!
Medium or heavy weight row cover will give your veggies protection to several degrees below freezing. The problem is, if you don’t protect them, and we get an Indian summer where it turns warm again for quite a while, then the crops could have the time they need to finish ripening before we get more cold weather.
Remember to remove the protection in the morning so the plants can get warmth and light from the sun. I have lost many crops by not protecting them during these early freezes. I will be prepared this time!
The next few nights are going be below freezing here in Santa Fe area. Tonite (Sunday) is not too bad only 30°F but still below freezing and Monday and Tuesday will be in the low 20’s at nite so protect your veggie plants with row cover (preferably with winter weight or 2 layers of medium weight) for those tender transplants you may already have out. Prepare now and protect those plants! Hate to see them wiped out especially since all nurseries are now closed due to governor mandate.
And of course this cold snap comes right as our fruit trees are flowering-ah poop!
Monsoons are here! Last nite we got just under 2 inches of rain at the farm here in Santa Fe! And more to come today and the weekend. I was waiting for the rain to hit us and boy did it! I’m taking off the tomato row covers this weekend!
Fall harvest-tomatoes, Tahiti Butternut squash, Bradford watermelons and Craupadine beets
I just heard last night’s snow was the earliest on record for Oct 14th in Santa Fe. The weather apps have said it was going to be 27°F last night. Woke up this morning to a light snow, ice and the temperature was 24°F here. Harvesting has been intense the last few weeks. Why is there always so much to pick in the end? The only annual crops left are a few kale, beets and cabbages outside in the main garden and greens in the greenhouse and cold frame. I’m not sure how they fared as I wasn’t able to go out and check today, and in truth, with 34°F for a high, I was in no hurry to see if they made it. They were covered with winter weight row cover with the hopes they make it and I will check tomorrow. I was more concerned the barn animals were ok with this first cold snap and made sure all the heaters in the water tanks were working and the chickens had their heat lamps on. I guess winter is here.
I would encourage everyone to water their veggie crops 2x a day here in Santa Fe while we are having this extreme heat wave. The heat is really taking a toll and many plants are stressed to the max right now. Do not fertilize anything in this heat as that might add to their stress. Instead you might water with sea weed and SuperThrive or Vit. B which are good for plant stress. Don’t plant any seeds right now while the heat is on, rather wait till it is cooler and the soil can be kept moister.
Also adding row cover or shade cloth over plants should help. If you have any fencing, you could cut a piece and open it over your bed and put the shade cloth or row cover on top of that which the plants will love even more as the cloths will not rub on them but if not just put some medium weight row cover over them which won’t weigh too heavily. I would not use heavy weight row cover as it will not breathe and the row cover should not be tight over them.
Once we are over this period, you could go back to watering 1x a day and take off the row cover once the monsoons come-hopefully in the next few weeks but leave the row cover just to the side of the bed in case we get a hail storm, then I put it back over the bed again. This is of course assuming we get the monsoons!
I hate this wind we have been having the last few days. Typical spring weather here in Santa Fe. Today winds sustained at 25-30 mph and tomorrow projected to be 40 mph! Just terrible for a gardener chomping at the bit to get out in the garden. But I refuse to go out in it (I’m not that nuts!) so I have to be content to stay inside and dream about what my garden will look like this summer. They say the spring winds wake up the trees from winter and if this is so, they should be wide awake by now.
I did start my tomato seeds 2 weeks ago and they are mostly up inside, under lights on heat mats. I keep moving forward towards the garden even though the wind wants to move me backwards. Ugly Wind-Ugh!!!
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.
Wow! This weather is ugly. I for one am very tired of all this WIND and COLD COLD nights for us vegetable gardeners. Come on! I want to start planting in earnest! I can hardly believe it’s still getting below freezing at night. Looks like mother nature is going to take us right up to the May 15th date of ‘first frost free date’ before we get out of danger of freezes at night and maybe not even then. Unbelievable! We’re expected to get up to 1 foot of snow up in our local mountains but just a trace down here in Santa Fe. Still, Colorado has it worse tonight! What are all those giant pumpkin friends gonna do to protect their babies tonight?!
I need to wait to plant warm season veggies like corn, gourds, squash, cucumbers, beans, eggplants, peppers, and of course my beloved tomatoes and giant pumpkins. So there they sit in the house, under their lights, getting huge, staying warm just waiting for their time to shine. I hope it’s soon. I don’t think I’ve ever planted my tomatoes so late-I always am able to sneak them in earlier with wall of waters which I still could do but every time I wanted to plant them this spring, I knew we were going to have freezing weather that night. I just keep telling myself-patience, patience.