You probably know we just went through some really cold weather in Texas. Thankfully it wasn’t nearly as bad as last year’s arctic blast. It was still a really cold period for us, the lowest here was 23 degrees and we had multiple nights in a row well below freezing.
That’s plenty cold to kill or damage crops. Here’s what we did on our small farm to get through it.
The first thing we do before a hard freeze is make sure everything is very well watered going into it. This helps crops withstand the cold better, so we ran our irrigation on everything that needed it.
We have lots of crops in unheated tunnels, so we will close those according to the crops in there and how cold it might get. For this event we closed all the tunnels that had any crops in them.
We don’t have framed doors on the ends so we bunch up the extra plastic and tie a rope around the bottom. We tie that rope to a stake in the ground, drop a few rock bags on the plastic and then roll the opening closed and clamp it shut.
Outside of the tunnels we use frost fabric. We also use it inside tunnels to give extra protection to more sensitive crops, the double layer helps a lot.
Frost fabric protecting beets
We covered these carrot seedlings with row fabric AND closed the tunnels to ensure they made it.
After all our planted crops were covered and taken care of, we moved our transplants to safety. We took a bunch of our potted plants inside the house.
You can see lots of the potted plants there. We also took the opportunity with the nasty weather to build some raised beds by Vego Garden in the house.
We did a little trick with our veggie transplants. We do have them in an unheated tunnel outside that we can close, but we couldn’t take any chances with them.
We loaded them all on a trailer and our electric cart, parked it in the barn, covered it all with greenhouse plastic, put a tiny space heater on medium underneath and it stayed above freezing in there the whole time.
That’s a lot of food to save!
Used some extra boards to make a little tent.
The back of the cart is full of plants too. It was nice that this setup protected the batteries in the cart from the cold.
After the worst weather we brought them all back outside.
All of our crops seem to have made it through just fine. Everything out there right now is pretty cold hardy. I was mainly concerned with young seedlings and our celery (freezing can damage the texture). We double covered the celery for extra protection.
To protect our plumbing I shut off the main 2″ valve that brings all the water out to the field, then open every single valve downstream and let them drain. To protect our well and home plumbing, I run water at a trickle at a few sinks in the house.
It just so happens we were refilling our “pond pool” at this time so I let a hose run at a slow pace into it as well.
Whew, glad that’s over
Now we have to prep some beds and get our overdue transplants in the ground!