Welcoming Late Fall

View from the inside of one of our mini-tunnels. Constructed of bent 1/2-inch conduit pipe and fabric row cover.

Frozen to the point where its cells burst, unprotected swiss chard hangs limp from damage.
Notes From The Field
Earliest Deep Freeze
By Derek McGeehan
Last week we endured the first hard freeze of the fall. Temperatures plummeted and bottomed out at around 20 degrees early Wednesday morning and for a full two days barely rose above freezing. In fact, last Tuesday morning we saw the first flurries of the season and, by the end of the day, much of our protective row cover was still covered with little pieces of snow/ice. By 8 PM that evening and by 7 PM the following night, uncovered plants were already frozen or frost covered. Did I mention we spent all day Tuesday outside harvesting and getting ready for the deep freeze?

View from outside of one our mini-tunnels. Without these, lettuce, endive, escarole, lettuce mix, and romaine would me missing from the Late Fall shares.
Over the past 5 seasons at Anchor Run we've had our share of weather challenges: hurricanes (Irene), tropical storms (Lee, Andrea), superstorms (Sandy), late spring frosts, consistently wet weather (2009, 2011), upper 90s heat waves (2011, 2013). This was the first season, however, where we contended with a deep freeze this early in the fall. We really did not know if plants would survive or be too damaged to distribute. Fortunately, a couple of weeks ago we spent a cold, blustery Sunday covering many of our crops. The cold, this time, penetrated inside the mini tunnels; the row cover adds about 4-6 degrees of frost protection. So, even though it was 20 degrees outside, inside the tunnel temperatures should have bottomed out near 25 or so. Or so we hoped. And also hoped that wasn't too cold for the plants to survive.
The good news: As of now it seems that most of the plants inside the mini tunnels did survive, mostly unblemished. Unprotected plants were damaged, except for very hardy kale and collards. Crops in the new high tunnel (arugula, lettuce mix, 2 brassica greens mixes, spinach) survived and look great.
Expected Harvest
Fresh Greens and Roots
By Derek McGeehan
Fall Harvest #1 should include: Leeks, Lettuce, Celery, Lettuce Mix, Kale, Endive or Escarole, Garlic, Potatoes, Winter Squash, Kohlrabi or Celeriac, Romaine Lettuce or Radicchio.