Late Frost in Wine Country

I’m writing tonight later than usual, but that’s because I just came in from admiring my garden and the grapevines and wondering what they are all going to look like in the morning.  Today is Friday, May 25th, and it’s supposed to freeze tonight.  This is really late for us to have a frost.  It froze last night too, but not until 5am.  The sun was already up a little, and we knew that it would just get warmer so there was no need to turn on any frost protection, but tonight could be a different story.  We had rain today, which happens this time of year, but it is not as common as in the mid-west and east coast.

We don’t really know what to expect if we have to frost protect the vineyard tonight.  Our wind machine will work if it doesn’t get too cold.  At the big vineyard, my sleeping husband will have to turn on overhead sprinklers to protect 400 planted acres of grapevines.  If the weather is cold enough to make ice, I’m worried about shoots breaking under the weight.  I think it’s unlikely that we will have temperatures that cold, but the forecast is for upper 20’s in inland valleys.  That is us.  We only get one chance a year to get it right with our grapevines!  That makes it a long time between paychecks if we lose the crop to frost, as happened in vintage 2011.

If you have ever wondered why farmers check the weather all the time, and talk about it with their friends, and contemplate what might happen, and discuss the options and weather events of years past…it’s because we can’t beat Mother Nature!  I’m hoping for a mild night.  I will give you an update asap.  In the meantime, here is what my beautiful garden looked like today.  We have been eating broccoli rabe, radishes, garlic scapes (thank you Katie B. for teaching me the correct name!), spinach, and my personal favorite, Grandpa Admire’s lettuce from the garden for a few weeks now.

The stuff that looks like a homeless camp in the background is my collection of chicken coops for my laying hens.  I have a little over 50 hens now, 12 turkeys and 3 geese.

One of my favorites, Grandpa Admire’s Lettuce, available from Seed Savers.

Raindrops on my collard greens

Let’s hope for the best!


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