The weather forecast for tonight is calling for lows of minus seven in Stony Plain, which means that out here at Sunrise Gardens, the overnight low could possibly go down to minus ten! This forecast makes for a bit of a scramble out here: crops that can survive some cold, like our kale, will not survive at minus ten. We’re spending the morning on our market preparations, as usual, but after lunch we’re all bundling up and will pick as much kale as we can.
The deer and/or moose (we haven’t actually seen them out, just the damage they’ve done) have eaten through the row covers we use to protect the crop, and have been snacking on our beautiful kale, so getting the healthy green leaves picked and in storage is for the best anyways. Kale has an incredibly long shelf life, so we should be able to offer it on our table at market for a few weeks still.
The cool down tonight also means that we have to head over to the other side of the
property, where the older greenhouse is, and move the winter squash. Our pie pumpkins, carving pumpkins, Buttercup, and Spaghetti squash have been in there for the past three-and-a-half weeks curing, so that they will store better over the winter. We’ve had a propane heater and a fan in there to keep them from freezing, but expected low temperatures tonight would be too much for that little heater to combat.
After lunch, we’ll all be heading over there to move the squash from there and into big bins, which will then be stored in a heated and well-ventilated garage. Every year, the squash is laid out to cure differently, so it’s hard to tell how big our harvest is until they all get placed in their bins, so we’re looking forward to getting a better idea of how much we have. Our best guess right now is that we have around the same number of Buttercup and Pie Pumpkin as last year, but more spaghetti squash (that, at least, is how we planned it in the spring).
We’ll have one last market with our cucumbers – not nearly as many bags as we were able to bring in the summer, but better than nothing – and this is most definitely the last week you’ll be able to get some, since after picking earlier this week, we pulled the plants. We picked the leeks out of the field this week as well, and we’ll be able to continue bringing in bunches of celery and tomatoes for another 2-3 weeks. We’re still stoking the wood-fired furnace to keep the cold-frame warm enough overnight, but soon the plants in there will be pulled as well, and we’ll let that ground rest until next spring.
Speaking of next spring, we’ve made good progress on the new cold frame. The
structure is up, but we’re waiting until we have a bit more time on our hands to get the plastic covering on. We’re hoping to get that done during one of the stretches of warmer weather we usually get at some point during the winter, since right now our focus has to be on cleaning up the mess we’ve made during the 2014 outdoor season.
Ok. I’ve spent enough time in the comfort of the office, avoiding that cold and biting wind. Time to bundle up, pulling my long johns out of storage and head out to help rescue some squash and kale.