November 4, 2009
We have had some really odd weather and the killing frost has taken care of all of the plants outside. The gardens have been cleaned off and put to bed for the season, except for the cold frame. At this time, we are harvesting radishes, some leaf lettuce, summer squash, and zucchini. Last Monday, we did not get the summer squash and zucchini covered, so it is looking rather nasty as the leaves did get some frost. The warm days are great for the plants as they can then get more growth and height to them. The cold days really slows things down, but they still look good.
This week I need to order some row covers because as the temperatures dip below 20's the plastic layers are not enough to keep the plants from freezing. I am hoping that November and possibly December will be warmer months and not go below the 20's or teens so we can get a good idea how things will grow. If this happens, this will give us maybe two months of down time in the cold frame as we will begin planting again at the end of February or the beginning of March.
Grasshoppers are still a problem. They are munching on the kolhrabi leaves and some of the Swiss chard. There were some holes in the ground between rows, which looked as though a ground squirrel was making tunnels. Have not seen any running around as of yet.
The other amazing thing, is we have not had to water any of the plants since probably August or mid September. All of the condensation that collects from the plastic drips back on to the plants and seems to water them. There also has been so much rain that the dry ground inside seems to be absorbing it in from the sides and the ground stays fairly moist at all times.
The vegetables we are growing are to be used for our Community Shared Agriculture shares that go out each week. Timing is going to be an issue with the plants. Right now we have winter root crops to fall back on and we also have Plantpeddler of Cresco growing tomatoes and cucumbers that we can add to our bags each week. I am pretty sure that come the dead of winter it will be slim pickin's for the shares, but you won't find lettuce, tomatoes or cucumbers any fresher that what we are growing right here in Iowa during those subzero temperatures.
Watch for an article coming out in the Union the week of November 18th on our CSA and greenhouse.