Adjusting to the Ice Age

Wonder what’s going on under the frost blankets. According to the weather folks, we’ve been below freezing for hours and hours for three days – a record stretch – so conventional wisdom has it that I will join the ranks of Florida farmers who have lost the whole crop. Looking at the fruit trees from the warmth of the house, they seem to have made it so far. You can tell if a tree’s been hurt because the leaves curl up and these haven’t. I really don’t know what to expect. I mostly have hardy veggies which, in years past, have survived temp’s on this order so it’s possible that it won’t be a total loss. Looks like things will return to normal on Thursday after one more record shattering night and I’ll remove the garden blankets. No matter how things turn out, we’ll have a bit of repair work to do on the blankets themselves. The wind has been howling for a few days and caused a few rips and tears but this is the third season for them and they’ve more than paid for themselves with saved veggies. The gov declared a state of emergency which I think means we get some kind of fed money to help cover the lost crops. Wonder where I sign up and will it cover some new frost cloth?

The inside of the house has taken on the look of a plant nursery. Anything that could be moved inside, has; Lots of new veggie starts that would normally be out on the porch are inside. That’s the stuff going into the garden as soon as it looks safe to replant. The guest bathroom is now a full blown arboretum.

Now that I’m convinced we’re entering an ice age, I need to do something a bit more aggressive with the garden so I’m designing a system of PVC pieces that will allow me to set up a variety of structures within the garden depending on exactly what crop needs what level of protection. And to make the whole job of covering, easier and less subject to ripping. My concept is to cut 1/2” schedule 40 PVC pipes into 30” pieces and then to use combinations of elbows, T’s, connectors, and caps to create a wide variety of shapes and functional pieces. Sort of a garden erector set. I’m going to start with a dozen or so 10′ pipe sections and 50 each of the various connecting pieces. In addition to use during the winter, I’ll be able to make tomato cages, pole bean trellis, and cucumber support structures during the warm season – different configurations for different seasons and crops.

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