I couldn’t resist so I peeked under the garden cover in a couple of spots. In general it looked pretty good. My big fear were the peppers and they are definitely not looking really good but they aren’t hammered either. So still the only obvious casualty are the tomatoes and that was to be expected. They were tall plants and I could only give them a single layer of frost protection whereas the peppers have 2 -3 layers. We still have a few nights of cold forecast but if the peppers can make it through, I’m thinking I’ll be able to trim off the dead stuff and bring them back to production with some TLC. The cabbage looks fine and so do the peas and cauliflower. What I can’t see because they are located toward the center of the coverage are young plants that I planted in mid December. I can only hope on that. I do have new cool stuff started in the house so I will have replacements waiting in the wings as required.
I’ve learned some lessons for next year – If I plant tomatoes late in the season , say the end of Sept to mid October, plant an early variety. I didn’t pay much attention to that and planted 85 day varieties. There are 58 day varieties which are generally smaller but had I put those in, we would have harvested prior to the freeze. I also learned that the frost covers I bought last year do indeed work. They didn’t get much of a test last year but when this stretch ends, we will have had two solid weeks of serious, record breaking cold and unless the bottom totally drops out, the cloth did the job. My fear was that I bought cloth that was too light. The tradeoff is that the lighter cloth allows better light transmission and can maybe be used all spring for bug protection, With heavier frost cloth, it would cook the plants as soon as it warmed up and couldn’t be used for warding off the flying critters.
Another piece of good news is that the bromiliads in the jungle seem to have made it so far. I had mentally written them off as too sensitive to possibly hold on this long. But they are well protected by the natural trees and palmettos and within 75′ of the lake so I guess the temps there have just not been as severe as up by the house.
I did stumble on a way to feel warmer in this cold snap. I watched a show on the tube that I had never seen before and had no idea about the subject matter but the title lured me in. It was call the Deadliest Catch – I needed something to watch while Nancy was watching her Sunday night chic stuff. Turns out the Deadliest Catch is about crab fishing in the Bering Sea during the winter. These fishermen are tough. They’re out there in freezing cold with waves breaking over there heads climbing all over a stack of icy crab traps. What a wimp I am to give up trolling for specs when the wind picks up to 10mph and the temp drops below 40 degrees. Next time I’m out there I’ll just focus my mind on crabbing in the Bering sea and know just how nice and warm it really is here.
The other thing I’ve noticed is that the fish that usually hang around the dock have headed off for warmer climes. Up until today, when I’d go down to feed them, they would rise up and gobble the food pellets. Today, nada. Not the first rise. With the dramatic drop in water level I guess the cold is getting down closer to the bottom and they’ve headed off to the deep, warmer water. Mid week I caught spec’s in about 6′ deep water. I wonder where I’ll find them when I can get out there again?
I did break out my secret weapon against the cold and it worked perfectly. In Utah some of the best fishing occurred at a large reservoir up in the mountains where temps in the teens started in Sept. Usually by mid Nov it was totally iced over and the best fishing was just before the ice over. It was painful because it was so, so cold but the fishing was so, so good. I bought a snow mobile suit and that helped a ton but the killer was a head covering I bought called a Head Sokz. Somehow the snowmobile suit didn’t make it to Florida but the Head Sokz did. I got it at a Sportsman’s show and the guy who sold it to me said it would absolutely keep me warm in the coldest weather. He was right. No matter how cold it was, I’d put on the Head Sokz and within 15 minutes I’d be unzipping the snow mobile suit to cool me off a bit. I had forgotten about it but this morning decided to give it a try while the local temp was 32 and the lake was calling my name. Oh, yeah – like having a heater on board. I also used a pair of gloves that have open finger tips but include a mitten held on with velcro so that you can use the gloves either open finger or as mittens. Perfect. So it wasn’t too cold for me at all. Too cold for the fish though. Not a bite.