October Snow, Redux

So the snow we were preparing for back on Wednesday night didn't turn out to be much: our cars and some spots on the grass were coated. I am happy to report that our new greenhouse tunnel, however hastily assembled, performed beautifully! We are still flush with fresh lettuce and cilantro. The cold frames also did the job, even though they are too short for much of what is in there.

No sooner do we breathe a sigh of relief than we wake up today to this:


Newburyport is right under that red line, just before the "S" in "Snowfall." So that means we are in for 5-9 inches of SNOW from a very, very early nor'easter. Wow.

As I am typing this, it is just starting to rain, but when you open the door and take a listen it's a bit tinkly sounding, meaning that it's mixed in with ice. It's supposed to turn to all snow around midnight and continue through the morning tomorrow.

So today we really raced to get some last-minute prep done in the garden. Kirk quickly banged together the boxes for the raised beds for the berries. We've had the wood for a while, so finally these got built, installed, and fit into the less-than-level ground here.


To do that, Kirk worked the ground on some of the longer ones, digging down and shoring up to get the bed relatively level. On the one he is working on in this picture, he scribed the long ends to cut out an arc along the bottom so it would fit flat over what is left of a tree stump very close to the surface of the topsoil. This worked beautifully, and we got these all in place before it started to rain/ice/whatever it's going to do.

The long beds you see above are for blueberries and raspberries. The two shorter ones in the background are for cranberries. Tomorrow (maybe — Kirk covered part of the giant dirt pile so it would still be accessible before the snow melts tomorrow) we should be able to start filling these with dirt. Then we'll be able to acidify the blueberry and cranberry beds so that can settle over the winter.

We also added another greenhouse tunnel to protect the cabbages and broccoli. Some of that broccoli is finally forming a head, so we're hoping to help it along so it can get a smidge bigger in the next month.


This one lacks the ridge pole along the top and probably won't support much snow weight at all. We used the extra pvc for additional hoops to add length instead. Again, next year we will have a better handle on this.


The last thing today was to harvest the last beans and peas. Maybe the pea vines will survive the snow, but I picked them pretty clean just in case. The beans will surely not make it, so I pulled the plants (in the foreground of the photo above) and picked the remaining beans from them.


So that's the last basket of beans for the season. We'll eat these fresh some time this week, because they are all different sizes and therefore will be hard to blanch evenly to freeze them. It's a little sad to see this crop come to an end, but also satisfying to have been so successful with them. 

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