Take Cover!

Mama Nature is throwing us one last dose of chill!  And while some don’t think it will dip into frost territory, we’re not taking any chances.  We’ve been burned (think icy burn) before and will not be again. 

Just look at these sweet little things.  Would you take a chance with their survival?  Didn’t think so.   So after some discussion, we used this lightweight frost blanket to cover our beans, tomatoes and peppers.  It’s not the only option.  We could have “insulated” them with mulch, or thrown a bed sheet over top.  Though whichever way you choose to attack this problem, the goal remains the same:  protect their leaves from frost.

Our potatoes are growing well and quite robust and should be able to tolerate a “near dip” experience.  Though just to be sure, we gathered some oak leaves to ensure a snuggly evening.  Talk about perfect segue–our lesson this week was mulch!  

What kind of mulch?

Natural of course, like leaves, bark, hay and would you believe newspaper?  

Oh, yes.  So long as you keep it from flying into your neighbor’s yard by trapping it somehow–we used hay–newspaper mulch is a great way to recycle.  If you prefer the lovely look of all hay, then simply toss the paper out back like the old news that it is–and onto your compost pile!   

If you don’t have one yet, you will soon.  Composting is too easy and too efficient–even for those city dwellers we know.  One afternoon surfing the net will prove you can compost indoors AND keep it clean.  A must.  We are tidy when at all possible.

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Greenhouse for Green Peppers

Sort of.  I call it a “modified” green house as the intended effect is the same, albeit the outcome may be different.  At least in my case.

It all started with a few dastardly bugs, too much heat and not enough rain.  Same old — same old, right?  I live in Florida, have this beautiful green swamp behind my home (host to an enormous amount of insects) and full sun.  Full HOT sun.  And humidity.  The result?

My peppers are suffering.  So I decided to protect them.  After a bit of research, I found the perfect support system:  9 gauge wire, cut to the length of my choice covered with a lightweight fabric. 

Simple enough.  Flexible, the wire can easily be cut and shaped into arches long enough to cover the width of my bed AND accommodate for the height of my plants.  

Next, I draped a light “frost blanket” sheeting across the tops of each “hoop” and secured it in place with anchor staples (also found at the hardware store). 

Voila.  A greenhouse.  Take THAT you dastardly insects!  Air and light can permeate this delicate material, but insects cannot.  I think even water can get through, though I’m not taking any chances on that count and hand watering the row when needed.

So take note.  Whether it’s the greenhouse effect you’re after or frost protection, try this idea on for size.  The wire costs about $10.00 while the blanket material is about the same.   I purchased it for last year’s freeze, then stored it for later use.  (And use, I am!)   Anchor staples will run you about $5.00.  Fresh peppers?

You said it:  Priceless.   All in all, not a bad investment for a backyard gardener.