For the last two nights the temperature has dipped down to 21ºF (-6ºC), several degrees colder than it has been yet this year. Without those two days I'd say our winter is getting off to a mild start, with daytime temps back up into the lower 60s (16ºC or so) at the end of the week and over the weekend.

Those two cold nights ruined it though, as it meant I had to move all of my non-hardy plants into the garage, and also protect some of my in-ground plants. I've been planning on doing this some day "soon", but I'd rather do it later. Looking at the forecast and realizing you have two days to do a week's worth of work is not the most stress-free way to garden.


Still though, it seems to be my way.

The only in-ground plants I need to protect during this short cold snap are in my veggie beds. I'll start with this small triangular box (pictured above) where I planted some late Swiss chard and then added some lettuce (which I never told you about).

My plan was to create a little greenhouse over this bed so these plants will keep growing, hopefully all winter long. Seemed easy enough since the pergola supports are already in place so I grabbed a few metal poles (electrical conduit -- my favorite general-purpose garden stake) and cut them to size:

Then attached them to the supports using these strap supports:

and a few hose clamps for the diagonal bar:

That's a nice, sturdy frame!

Now for some plastic...

That piece looks much too large. It's huge!

I'll give it a try though...

Wow, it's really difficult wrapping a triangular frame with a rectangular skin! I ended up with a bit too much plastic, but not as much as I expected. The best solution would have been to cut the plastic into the correct triangular shape with "flaps", but I didn't have that kind of time.

Maybe I'll do that this weekend when it's warm, as this is a bit of a mess. The plants are protected though:

I also protected the greens growing in the fenced veggie bed. The kale got a row cover:

(I added a layer of plastic after the photo was taken)

The tatsoi got a thick layer of leaves:

This larger chard though, what to do?

It turns out I had an unused roll of row cover material in the garage, so I just wrapped the plants with a couple of layers:

Will that protect them from 21ºF (-6ºC)? I don't know, but it's better than doing nothing.

Hmm, I wonder if some straw would have helped? This was slated to be used on my garlic beds, but I haven't gotten around to using it yet (obviously).

Two days of cold is just about the right taste for this time of year, now bring on the warmer weather!


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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (November 28, 2012 at 11:41 AM)  

I continue to be impressed with what you are able to throw together at a moment's notice :-).

Steve Lau  – (November 28, 2012 at 3:59 PM)  

Are you sure that radishes and garlic need greenhouse protection?

On plants like these, I usually just spread 2-3 inches of fallen leaves on top of them, and they will come out strong in March once the snow melts.

Alan  – (November 28, 2012 at 5:31 PM)  

Steve: I don't think radishes or garlic need winter protection. I didn't cover my garlic and I'm not growing radishes. :-)

Barbie  – (November 29, 2012 at 5:24 AM)  

I do not envy you with this chore. I see what you mean with the triangle greenhouse - the rounded one actually looks nice! All neat and tidy - but that's the tidy-freek in me!

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