Winterizing The Garden

I’m sure that most everyone has already winterized their garden, but for us here in zone 8b temps have been very mild this year.  The forecast has it dipping into the upper 30’s this week and although I have my doubts that it will actually get that cold, I figured it’s better safe then sorry.  I’ve had a very busy weekend getting the garden ready for winter, but am glad to say I am finished. This year I decided to build  low tunnels for most of my garden beds after the huge success I had with the one bed I covered last year.  I got the idea for low tunnels from Mother of a Hubbard.  Although I built mine a little differently, the principle is the same. Since all my beds are raised beds made out of wood I decided to attach the PVC pipe to the beds using metal brackets.  I found the brackets at my local box store in the electrical section.

Drill, screws, 1/2″ brackets

Attach the PVC pipe to the side of the bed using metal brackets.

Once the first side is attached just bend the pipe over and attach the other side.  It took less then an hour to attach the pipes here in the East Garden.

This is what the beds after the PVC pipes were attached.

Once the PVC pipes are secured it’s time to put the plastic on.  Since temps here in Florida don’t get too cold, and it never snows, I went with a 4 mil plastic.  The rolls I got were 12′ by 100′.  The plastic went over the beds perfectly with about a foot on either side.  I secured one side by laying some 2×4’s and whatever else I could find on the plastic to weigh it down.  I used clips to roll up the other side to insure the hot air could escapes and the veggies didn’t overheat.  Putting the side up and down only takes a few minutes.  When the side goes down I’ll just weigh that side down too.

Here is what the East Garden looked like once the plastic was put on.

Not only did I have to get my beds covered but I have a few papaya plants, which are tender tropicals, that  I want to keep from freezing.   The easiest and cheapest way was to build a frame out of PVC and cover it with plastic.  I used 1″ PVC, only because it’s what I had, I don’t think I would use thinner pipe but thicker stuff would be fine.  I wish I had remembered to take a picture of the frame before I put the plastic on, but I didn’t.  The plastic was quite a job to get on so once on I didn’t want to take it back off to take pictures.  🙁   I used the same plastic as I did for the tunnels, with one layer going from back to front and a second from side to side using clips to secure it in place.  If heavy wind is predicted I will tie a rope around the top and bottom, thankfully it’s not hurricane season.  Here are some pictures, and I hope you get the idea.

The structure is 9 feet tall with a center pole about 13′ tall to try to keep the water from pooling on the top.  The upright pipes were driven at least one foot into the ground to give it some stability.

A look at the top corner or the stucture.

A picture from further away with plastic clipped open.

Here’s what it looks like all closed up.

The other thing going on in the garden is there has been a rabbit eating my asparagus.  It has taken over a week but it has eaten the entire bed down.  I think it will continue returning to eat any new shoots that come up so I put some chicken wire around the bed.  Not sure if that will work but I had to try something.  I secured the bottom of the chicken wire to the bed with staples so it will not be able to squeeze under.  I don’t think they can climb so I am hopeful this will work.   Not sure how I will get in the bed if needed but I’ll figure that out when that day comes.

Chicken wire around the asparagus bed. Sure hope this keeps the rabbit out!

I thought since it has been so long since I posted I would add a few pictures of the chickens and ducks.        

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3 Responses to Winterizing The Garden

  1. Hanna says:

    Everything looks great! The chicken and ducks look happy and very healthy. The Papaya house is awesome!

  2. Sarah says:

    Your tunnels look neat! How did the plants do after the cold we just got? I may need to make some of those for next year. So excited to have found your blog-it’s so hard to find sites by gardeners in this area.I’d love to know what you’re starting now for spring.

    • Charlotte says:

      The tunnels work great. However, I thought the thinner plastic would work fine but in the future I plan on using only the 6 mil.

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