A Rough Winter in Middle Georgia

What a bummer this winter weather has been!  Elm Street Gardens manager, Jim Fraser, and I laughed at ourselves the other day when we looked at the predicted low for that night and saw that it was only going down to 24!  That low would have triggered major alarm most years here in Sparta.  But now?  Kind of used to it and nothing like that 9 degrees we had a few weeks ago.


All our rows of vegetables outside the hoop houses are covered with white row covers.  And the rows inside the hoop houses are covered with them too.  When there is an occasional warmer day, we do take the row covers off the crops in the hoop houses, but for the most part all rows are covered (except for the young onions and garlic plants unless it is headed down to the single digits). So it is not too scenic when visitors come to see what we are doing in the garden -- all they can see is a sea of white covers floating over the plants. 


Our camellias keep trying, but the buds are getting frozen on a regular basis. Last year at this time we had daffodils out of the ground with the early varieties ready to begin blooming.  But now there are just a few beginning to pop not very exuberantly through the ground. 


So that is our bad news.  The good news is that we have been able to save all the crops in the hoop houses and keep our Farm Box customers supplied with a healthy dose of greens.  It did take the addition of propane heaters to the hoop houses on the worst nights, but all is well given that help.  And while many of the crops not in the hoop houses have been “burnt” by the cold and their development has been slowed down, we have saved most of them to hopefully recover and begin to produce again when the weather gives us a serious break.


As I write this, I am aware that what is serious winter cold to us is nothing to those who live in more northern climes.  And the day will come when the weather is reliably warm again and we all will be able to shed our winter gear and bloom again.  And it will be much earlier than spring comes in Chicago or Buffalo!




Ice forms on the retention ponds.

Ice forms on the retention ponds.  Even the duck weed looks frozen.  


White row covers protect most rows of the vegetables in the outdoor beds.  


Oops!  Here's a brussels sprout plant that was left out of the row covering.


On a warmer day, the rows within the hoop houses are uncovered and you can see that most of these greens survived the severe cold.

15 Elm Street, Sparta, GA