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Friday PhotoEssay – Icy Edition

As you can imagine, I’ve got some lovely, icy pictures for this week, as well as the “aftermath” pictures. I know, I’m trying to make it sound all dark and foreboding. It’s not, really. You don’t have to be afraid to read to the end of the post.

This is the red lettuce that I transplanted last Saturday as part of the Saturday Sampler series. It got a lot darker just over the weekend. (This is a “before” picture.)  I just love the contrast of the white ribs and the red leaves.

I’ve had a couple people ask if the garlic is almost ready to harvest, because it is supposed to brown and dry back as a sign it is ready. This leaf browning is still due to the temperature fluctuations of winter and cold injury, not readiness of harvest.

Iced vegetables! The droplets of ice make these shallots into something of an art project! It is so interesting how you can see the direction the droplets were flowing as they froze.

I think it is really interesting that the ice/rain/whatever you call it didn’t actually manage to coat the pea leaves. The ice is frozen in droplets on the tips of the leaves in some cases, but the plants aren’t completely coated.

The radishes, on the other hand, were completely coated in ice. This radish seedling had about and eighth of an inch of ice on it. Poor thing!

Whoa! Somehow an ice storm built us a grape trellis! Oh, wait…that was one of the Master Gardeners. Oops! Now we have to decide what grape to plant…

Here’s the “after” shot of the radish/parsnip rows. Still no parsnips, but that’s still normal. The radishes look almost as good as new! No damage here!

The edges of some of the lettuce leaves look a little bit nipped from the cold and ice, but overall, things are in good shape!

Have a great weekend!

Overnight Lows

Woohoo! We did not get nearly as cold last night as they were predicting! I saw lots of 32s and some 30s, although rumor has it that up in Reno County they got down to 27 in some places. One more cold night to get through tonight!

Freezing Temperatures & Frost Protection, Part 2

So, we are one day in to our wintry blast. So far the low has only been 30 degrees, which is not a big deal for most things. We also have a lovely coating of ice, which is breaking tree branches right and left. The forecast for tonight is for 26 degrees.

You can see that there’s ice everywhere, including on our garlic! You can see how the waxy leaves caused the water to run while it was freezing!

So, what do you do about ice on your vegetables? LEAVE IT ALONE! The ice is actually a small measure of protection at this point, and at any rate, you need to let things thaw normally. What about tonight? Do you cover things? It is up to you. Even if we get down to 26, you shouldn’t see much damage on things other than potatoes.

But what about fruit trees?

Iced CrabappleThis crabapple is still budding out, not yet in full bloom. For our fruiting apples and other trees, what should you do? First, no need to remove the ice. Again, it is providing some measure of protection, especially as long as it is still raining or drizzling.

The ice will probably melt this afternoon, as the temperatures get slightly warmer. So should you cover your fruit trees to protect the buds and blossoms?

First, you should look at this chart to determine what the damaging temperature would be for the stage of bloom your tree is in and determine how much damage there is likely to be: Critical Temps for Fruit Trees. If you are only looking at 10% damage or a little more, I wouldn’t bother covering your trees.

If you are looking at a significant amount of damage, you could cover your trees, if you have the means to do so. HOWEVER, they are also forecasting 12 mph wind with gusts up to 20 mph. Most likely, the wind will cause your pockets of warm air to blow away, so covering won’t get you much. I know, I’m a bastion of cheery news today, aren’t I?

Looking at the conditions, I would guess that this wintry blast is going to cause some percentage of damage to our fruit crop this year, but probably not a complete loss. But then, it looks like we’re going to get another chance next week too!