We are prepared for heavy snowfall. Without a car, we do not need to keep the driveway clear, which is one complaint our neighbors have, waking up to three feet of snow. We pack trails out to the road and the barn with snowshoes, and hit the road with our bikes. Our food supply for the winter is stored in the cold room and pantry, so we have little need to get to town. And the thick blanket of snow is actually beneficial to us in the growing season. Last winter's 14 feet of snow replenished the reserve of groundwater to a level that we did not have to water the garden, except directly after transplanting. Also the snow insulated the ground from freezing, which is beneficial to overwintering crops like garlic, winter rye, or crops like chard, parsley and fennel I hope to overwinter for the sake of seed saving. A thick blanket of snow is also beneficial to my garden ecology. Insect eaters like voles and toads fare well, and they are the main predators of my most problematic pests: cucumber beetles, flea beetles, cabbage worms, and potato beetles. So I really do hope the snow comes early and thick, before the ground freezes hard, and stays all winter long.
The brussels sprouts don't mind the heavy frost, even though I got them started a bit late, we will still get a late fall treat. Some of the last fresh greens for a few months.It looks like my crop of broccoli seed is too late this year. The seed pods have formed on many of the plants, but the seeds are not filled out, and will most likely be killed by a freeze. I was hoping to harvest some extra broccoli seed for sprouts in November and December, but at least I know how early to start them next spring. But letting these broccoli heads go to seed was well worth it to see the bees collecting heavy baskets of yellow pollen so late in the year. There is no other souce of pollen for them, not in my garden, and not in the fields around, so perhaps this late bloom will help these wild honey bees survive the winter.
Our onion crop was not the best, but they did well for the poor ground and just adequate manure coverage they were planted into. They were planted from my first crop of saved onion seed, and I was pleased with the germination and vitality of the seed. The best bulbs have been set aside for next year's seed crop.
Our carrots have astonished me this year. Some of them are almost two pounds of crispy sweet carrot flesh! These, and green beans, have been our bumper crops for 2008. I was expecting at most 200 lbs of carrots from the 150 row feet planted, and we tipped the scales, so to speak, with 400 lbs! But it is not just the weight of the harvest that pleases me, the carrots are of a very high quality and flavor, and will store well.