Technically, a “hard freeze” is when there are at least 4 consecutive hours of temperatures below 25°F (-4°C). This is important to gardeners, because a hard freeze will kill most annual plants.
Autumn temperatures here in East Tennessee are not very predictable. We had a few mild frosts over the past couple of weeks, but no hard freezes. Then we had a forecast for temperatures dropping to 19°F (-7°C). I noticed this with only about 1 hour left of daylight.
So our current WOOFER (Jacob) and I went out to the garden with baskets and scissors and knives to harvest what we could before the cold could destroy it.
We have been at our farm for about 18 months, and we finally put in our first annual vegetable garden late this Summer. I say “we” very loosely, because although it was done with my guidance, almost all the work was done by one of our other WOOFERS, Marianne.
Our hope is that this annual garden will be in place for many decades, maybe longer depending on how many generations use it. It was a project we wanted to get done last year, but so many things got us distracted. As with many things on a homestead and farm, late is better than never.
We finally got the garden in place, but it was just a bit later in the season than we were initially planning. The kale and Swiss chard did just fine, but our broccoli and cauliflower and Brussels sprouts did not have enough time to mature before our cold weather started slowing their growth. Our cabbages didn’t have enough time to develop a full head, but that’s okay… even a partially formed head of cabbage is still edible. It may not be great for long term storage, but it is plenty good enough to make sauerkraut!
Since these first attempts, I have made many batches of sauerkraut. Here is how I make it…
Please ask if you would like to use one of my photos!Subscribe to TCPermaculture.com and receive updates whenever a new article is posted!