Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Garden Update and Farm Report, After the Big Freeze February 6, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — austinurbangardens @ 12:06 am

I did all I could to protect my food crops during this hard, sustained freeze.  The farm reports started rolling in yesterday, first with Addie Broyles’ , Austin 360 Blog:’

Next in my email, was the Boggy Creek Farms Newsletter, 3 days later than normal, with a fairly grim farm report.

The farmstands at the SFC Farmer’s Market at Republic Square were mostly very light on vegetables.  There was some not very good looking cauliflower, and just a huge decrease on everything else that would have been available, on a normal market day.  The lettuces went fast, there were few sweet potatoes, potatoes, radishes, carrots, turnips.  It was easy to see how several days of freezing weather could adversely affect those who rely on their crops to make a living.  I can imagine that it would be cost, labor and time prohibitive to cover acres of crops.

This sustained, low temperature freeze was something I have not dealt with as a vegetable gardener.  I think we broke a 20 year record, and 20 years ago, I had herb pots on my patio and that was it.  This time, I harvested lots before the first freezing night, then covered everything else, some plants with more dedication than I showed to others.  My most prized crops, the early planted onions and garlic, looked fabulous before the freeze.  I covered those beds in 3 layers of row cover, a blanket and a tarp.  This was certainly overkill, since onions are fairly freeze tolerant.  I worried until late yesterday about leaving them covered so much that they couldn’t get they sun.  They look great!

onions and garlic

I let them stand uncovered during the non freezing hours yesterday, then watered them and left them uncovered all day today and will until Tuesday night, our next predicted freeze. Again.

The Lancelot Leeks look much better than I expected, since I had just planted them then learned that I might have not planted the deep enough.

Happy Leeks!

The leeks even seem to have grown while under their covers.

The greens and lettuce had mixed outcomes, some of the lettuce froze under its cover, some didn’t.  The cabbages remained unfrozen and good.


Cabbage Head

Some frozen lettuce, some good

The strawberries were the other ones I was most concerned about losing, since they have been in the ground and establishing their roots for a couple of months.  I covered them tightly, and they look great, as do their lettuce volunteers.


Strawberry patch looks great!

Strawberries look perfect!

2 Responses to “Garden Update and Farm Report, After the Big Freeze”

  1. Kelly Says:

    I covered my broccoli and cauliflower, but my little broccoli heads wilted over and the plants just look sad. I’m giving them a week to see if they perk back up, but at what point would you call it and just rip them out? Been following your blog and twitter, glad to have a resource to tell me what to do about this freeze!

    • Hey Kelly,
      Sorry about the broccoli. I’d give it some water and see if it perks back up in a few days. Broccoli can tolerate a light freeze, but it just got so dang cold and stayed cold for such an extended period. Let me know how it does. Thanks for the kind words, too.
      Carla C.

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