Who knew lunch bags and nails could save the crops from frost!
Who knew lunch bags and nails could save the crops from frost!
Every possible container was used...even the upside down jack-o-lantern planter!
Every possible container was used…even the upside down jack-o-lantern planter!

Someone somewhere needs to explain to Mother Nature that we should not be battling frost a few days before June!  But there we were on Friday night, and again last night – covering every single at-risk garden plant and flower from the impending frost.

Quite honestly, we have never had the entire garden and flower beds all planted with the worry of a frost.  So when the warnings first came out mid-week that Friday and Saturday night could be a problem – we had to scramble to come up with a way to cover over 300 annual vegetable and flowering plants.  Like any good gardener – we have a small stash of empty pots – but not 300!  Every available pot, bucket and container was pulled out to cover the larger of the plants – but that still left us short a few hundred covers.

The answer came in the form of the humble brown paper lunch bag!  For a few dollars – we purchased a few hundred of the cheap brown paper lunch bags and turned them into our custom-made plant covers.  We just opened them up, slipped them over the 6 to 8″ plants, and used a common nail through the bottom of the bag and into the soil to hold it down.  As crazy as it sounds – it worked perfect – and saved the plants from a pretty hard frost here the last two nights.  

Without a doubt – the hodgepodge of pots, containers and brown paper bags made our garden look like the second coming of Sanford and Son’s Junk Yard – but hey – it worked! πŸ™‚

The Daylillies are beginning to bloom - a sure sign of late spring and summer.
The Daylillies are beginning to bloom – a sure sign of late spring and summer.

The temperatures are supposed to moderate today – so hopefully it’s our last little brush with the cold and frost danger this year!  I guess at the least – we learned it’s possible to save all of them through a late spring / early summer frost.

In spite of the recent cold snap -the garden is off to a good start.  The sugar snap peas have started to climb the trestle grid, and we’ve begun to harvest the first of our lettuce and radish crop – with the spring onions not far behind.

The Farm Expands:

We will finish today’s Sunday Farm update with some exciting news for us and the farm.  We’re growing….literally!

The barn and pergola area - one of the first buildings to go up at the farm.
The barn and pergola area – one of the first buildings that went up at the farm.

When Mary and I started this project on the little 3 acre plot we call Old World Garden Farms, I’m not sure we realized how much space our garden and building projects would take up!

We quickly began to realize that between the barn and pergolas, raised bed gardens, flowerbeds, chicken coop, sensory garden area, small apple and cherry tree orchard and the hillside grape plantings – we were running out of room for a place to put our house someday!

Well, we were very fortunate last week to put and end to those worries with the purchase of an adjoining 2.5 acre parcel of land.  We couldn’t be more excited to have added the land – and in fact, within a day, we had “Willie”, our Old Ford Tractor clearing off the lot!

It now gives us the opportunity to expand the grape vineyard the rest of the way up the main hill – and a spot to someday to build a house at the far top to overlook the whole farm.  Even better, it will give us a great view of all of the plants covered in brown paper lunch bags when we have to cover for the next frost!

Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary

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6 thoughts on “How To Battle Frost On The Cheap – And The Farm Expands! The Sunday Farm Update

  • May 28, 2013 at 11:35 am
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    Great idea. I was going to try to save milk jugs but that would take me years even with my small garden. I think we’re safe here in Ma. now but you never know. Thanks.

  • May 28, 2013 at 8:00 am
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    Thanks for sharing the paper bag idea- brilliant! Question: are tomato (and other plants) always susceptible to frost, or are they safe after reaching a certain level of growth? Thank you-

  • May 28, 2013 at 12:37 am
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    Thanks for this wonderful sight. I have borrowed so many of your ideas. Tomorrow I’m going to pick up some free hay bales to plant more veggies in. This past weekend, picked up about 25 ten foot long pallets (free). I’m becoming a huge fan of craigslist. I think we’re going to wait for next spring to get chickens, but will be building the coop this fall. Thanks again for a wonderful sight – D. Porter & family, WV

  • May 26, 2013 at 1:30 pm
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    Great idea. We had the frost last week here in TN and pulled out every pot/trash can, etc. that we could find. I even took some cans out of the recycle bin for som small plants. Paper bags sounds like an easy way. I’ll definitely keep this in mind for next year. Hopefully no more frost this season! Congrats on the extra land.

  • May 26, 2013 at 9:06 am
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    Thanks for the paper bag tip! So glad to hear you have more acreage! I have 5 acres and love it! Traveling in Europe at the moment where there is NO space! Hello from Rome! πŸ™‚

  • May 26, 2013 at 8:59 am
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    What a good idea. I wish I had know about this a few days ago. We lost about 200 tomato plants. Thanks for sharing you wonderful ideas. Jen

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