Friday, April 15, 2011

Snow tonight

Well, I finally finished the previous post. It took me 10 days, so I hope y'all like it. There was a lot of slogging through agriculture reports and organizing it into something (hopefully) coherent. For posts like that one I do try to include sources as much as possible. One thing the internet excels at is providing a platform for anybody to write anything they want, and sometimes it's hard to filter out the nut-job opinions from the fact-based theories. So, if you are curious about any of the statements in that post, feel free to follow the links and make your own opinions. I do try to make the post sturdy enough to stand on it's own without the reader having to review all of the source material first. It's hard to gauge that sometimes, so if you have feedback, I'm very receptive to that.

Looking ahead in blog land, spring is usually a hectic time for me and this year is no exception. But, I've got a couple of hefty posts like the last one I'm slowing working on, as well as a wrap up of the winter food storage experiment that's a bit overdue. Mixed in will be my 200th post!!!! As well as updates for my extended family who probably only read my blog for those posted pictures of the cute grandbaby.

As the title suggests, we have snow forecasted for tonight. boooooo. The Dakotas have a foot of the white stuff in some places, and parts of Nebraska are under a blizzard warning. I've got seeds in the ground (peas and greens so far,) as well as potatoes and onions. The garlic is 4 inches tall! I'll review my books this evening and drape my garden blanket over part of the garden tonight. Right now I'm thinking the potatoes will be most in need of snow protection, as the greens are in the cold frame and the garlic can take the cold. If I change my mind, I'll let y'all know. :-D

Easter frosts are a grower's worst nightmare. A few years ago we suffered through an Easter Blizzard here in Iowa. These hard late frosts can do a lot of damage, not only to tender sprouting seedlings, but to fruit trees and perennials as well. So, it's always a tricky dance to get seeds in early enough that they have time to mature properly, but not so early as to be damaged by hard late frosts. Tricks and tools like my cold frame, and garden blanket, as well as mulches and floating row cover can help mitigate a lot of the damage. They do take some trial and error, but I find they are very useful.

I'm hopeful that we're spared the worst of this storm, but there's no way to tell. Spring weather here in NW Iowa is very active. We had 70's last week, which brewed up quite the storm, and spawned tornadoes just 30 minutes SE of us. We had the wind and the hail, but thankfully no tornadoes. Lots more wind and rain this week, and now snow. Gardening here is not for the faint of heart. Really, even living here keeps us on our toes. I was in bed fully dressed, listening to that hail last weekend. I knew exactly what a storm like that could produce and I had the baby in bed with me, and the emergency kits ready for a dash to the basement. I knew we were prepared though, which spared me the worst of the worrying.

Pictures out of the tornado flattened town, just serve to remind me of the very stark realities that my emergency prepping is designed to handle. Mapleton residents had 10 minutes warning before the tornado flattened 50% of their town.

This snow storm that's headed our way is full of the heavy wet snow that loves to collect on tree branches and bring down power lines. Just West of us in Nebraska, power went down in several place overnight. That could just as easily be us, and we're certainly not out of the woods yet.

Anyway. Back to the happy spring gardening news.
My flat of tomatoes and peppers has pretty little sprouts up in most of the cells. A promising beginning, hopefully I'll keep enough of them alive to donate some seedlings to the plant sale that my Garden Club hosts. I'd also like to have enough on hand to donate to neighborhood children that want a plant to grow. There are a few who have a small green thumb, and their parents are kind enough to let them grow a little patch garden.

I'm having a bit of a problem with damping off in my new little greenhouse. Mostly I think, because of the restricted airflow in there. Once all the little seeds sprout, I think I'll try rolling up the door to allow more airflow. Hopefully the baby and cat won't take that as an invitation to create havoc in there.

As soon as the weather calms down I'll be putting the flats outside in the hardening off area that Dave and Rowen put together for me. (It's a big window from my parents, propped against the house in the sun.) That will help keep the damping off to a minimum I think.


fullfreezer said...

We're just getting rain but LOTS of it at the moment. I haven't yet had the chance to plant anything outside. I was hoping to set out my little cabbages this weekend but it's going to be too muddy now. Just as well since it is to be into the mid to low 30's. Ah, spring in Iowa.....
I'm going to have to wait til I have some more time to digest your last post. It looks great from what I've scanned so far.

Jon Lorisen said...

I've been living in the arctic so long, it's funny to hear about tornadoes when I look out the window and see nothing but snow. I left the prairies (and tornadoes) behind in 1998 and I don't miss the tornadoes at least!

Weather at home this week was in the -22F range but today it has warmed up to a sunny and gorgeous 14F. I'm loving it. Hopefully your garden survives the frost and no snow comes your way.