This morning was sunny and warm 56 degrees F and knowing that by this evening it may be snowing, I asked the cat if she would like to go out and check the garden with me. I had a few winterizing chores left to do.
Of course she did. All she really does is go and sit for a few minutes facing each direction, to make sure the borders are secure, then she demands a treat from the garden shed and heads back to the house.
My lettuce has been doing well under it's frost cover. We've had a dozen frosty mornings, but nothing approaching the limit of 26 degrees that the frost cover is rated for. That is about to change. The weather is supposed to turn today, rain by noon, snow in the evening, and then be rotten until Tuesday finishing up with a night forecast at 22 degrees which will put an end to gardening.
For those of you not familiar with "Lake Effect" snow, let me show you the "Snowvember" storm which hit Buffalo on Nov 18th, 2014. Cold arctic air passes over warm Lake Erie, picks up a huge amount of moisture, and then immediately dumps it as snow over the cooler land mass. You can have several feet of snow on one side of the street, and nothing on the other side.
This monster dumped up to five feet of snow over the course of two days. Now we are lucky enough to live about 20 miles east of the "snow belt" so we may not get the 12 inches predicted tonight into tomorrow, but then again....
It may be days before it will be pleasant enough to go out to the garden again, and in the mean time, the lettuce will have to try to survive a killing frost. So I've done my best to prepare it.
I picked a week's worth of lettuce taking the whole plants along the vulnerable edges, removed all the dead or damaged leaves, and watered it well.
Then I tucked it under a second layer of frost covering and wished it luck. Everything I am over-wintering went into the cold frame along with full watering cans to keep things watered until the soil freezes solid.. There are vinca vine, mums, spearmint and cat nip along with some potted tulip bulbs and a tri-colored sweet potato vine. The frost will kill the foliage by spring, but the roots will be fine. All my large spike plants are in my office where my boss believes they are multiplying daily. They may even be too big by spring!
Within the hour the bright sunrise was being over taken by black rain clouds from the west. The wind is picking up and I've retreated to the house. And that may be my last nice, warm gardening morning until spring.