Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Garden Ramblings... In December?

Yes, in December!

First off:

Yes, we did experience "Fall"

Autumn, like Spring, in Northern California, lasts about two weeks (give or take).  My fruit trees FINALLY decided to give-up their leaves at the end of November.  

Have I raked them up and disposed of them?! 

And yes, I probably should do that because the peach trees have Leaf Curl :::sigh:::

Now, immediately after FALL wreaked havoc on my fruit trees, we are experiencing WINTER.  Winter around here means buckets and buckets of rain.  Luckily, these last few storms have been comparatively mild in terms of temperatures (but INSANE with wind and rain).  We'll probably get our first freeze in the next couple of weeks - BOOOO!!!

In the meantime, I am "mostly prepared" for winter - and just in the nick of time!  A couple-three weeks ago, I hired P's son, jokingly referred to as "Rent-A-Son-Services," and he helped me put the yard "to bed" as it were.  The palapas are down, the electronics are stowed, the bar sink and fridge have been relocated to the shed porch, and all of the patio furniture is either covered or tucked-away someplace dry...  

The greenhouse has been insulated with a layer of large bubble-wrap on the ceiling (that keeps falling down b/c I bought crappy packing tape!), the "marginal" plants have been tucked-in to the GH. And those plants that are too big to fit through the greenhouse door have been clustered together in such a way that I should be able to strategically place some tall garden-stakes and toss a bed sheet over them on the Super Cold nights...

One of my "Wild Hair" ideas was to construct mini-greenhouse shelters over the raised beds.  Brylane Home sold them for relatively cheap (appx $35@ - and I probably had a coupon).  Size-wise, it seemed like they would work, so I bought two of 'em.

This is what they looked like on the website.
Nifty, huh?

This is what it looked like after we assembled it.
Not quite so nifty...

It's one of those metal pole assemblies with plastic squishy-together fittings that doesn't like to go-together AT ALL.  And the cheesy clear plastic cover started to tear as we were easing it onto the frame...

I didn't take a picture of it after our Big-Ass-Wind-And-Rain Storm.  Suffice it to say, the thing practically imploded when the water started pooling-up on the top.  It basically collapsed (squishing the plants underneath), and some of the plastic fittings were destroyed...

Not sure if any of it is salvageable, to tell you the truth, but it is definitely GONE now (And the second one - which was never removed from the box - is being returned).

Here is my Super-Cheap, Super-Low-Tech Alternative:

El Cheapo Hoop-House

4 x 2' lengths of rebar, driven into the ground at the corners, and 2 x 10' lengths of 1/2" PVC pipe from Home Depot.  I have no idea if this will hold floating row-cover fabric or not - but I intend to try.  I suspect there will be binder clips, duct tape, and possibly a staple-gun employed in the process (Regardless, it can't possibly turn-out any worse than the Mini-Greenhouse Debacle!).

As you can see, my Cool-Season Crops are lookin' pretty happy.  I have a boatload of radishes in there, as well (been thinning them whenever I wander back there), and a few carrots are starting to make an appearance...

I think *this* hoop-house oughtta work out fairly well.  It's not like it gets THAT cold here, and the height is kinda nice, I think.  We shall see!

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