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!
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.
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.
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.