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Hutten Family Farm Newsletter for Wednesday Feb 8, 2023

I thought I would send a little update as to how things are going here on the farm. As most people realize; this winter has mostly been a non-event so far with the exception of last weekend. We have experienced a very mild late fall and early winter with very little snow and unusually mild temperatures. This has allowed us to do a fair amount of pruning in the apple trees as well as getting some firewood cut and hauled home. Last weekend was somewhat different. The very quick moving cold snap saw temperatures here in Lakeville drop to about minus 25 or 26 degrees celsius for about 9 hours with a wind chill in the range of minus 45 degrees. This is well beyond anything that I have experienced before. We have one heated greenhouse that is heated with wood. I basically fed the stove dry hardwood every two hours from friday evening until sunday morning. Both dampers on the stove were open to create maximum heat and the greenhouse stayed at a temperature above 15 degrees celsius at all times. I was very surprised that there was not any chill damage. Even the unheated greenhouses that contain spinach, arugula, baby kale, mache, and mixed salad greens survived without significant damage. We had placed two layers of row covers over all the winter greens the day before and it seemed to work out. This really surprised me as well as I had expected a lot of cold damage. It looks like the fruit trees did not do as well. Nobody is positive about the extent of damage to stone fruit but most experts and experienced growers think that the peach/nectarine crop is probably lost. Cherries and plums are most likely also severely damaged. I went to the peach orchard and cut some small limbs which I placed in a bucket of water in the heated greenhouse. I'll wait and see if any blossoms open on these limbs but I am not very hopeful that they will. I am still a bit concerned about damage to the apple trees; especially the two acres of trees that we have recently pruned. I guess we will know by June. With the weather returning to well above seasonal I expect that the spinach and arugula and kale will really start to grow in the next couple weeks. I am tempted to start seeding in the coldframes for spring crops next week but I am not sure if I will. I have mixed emotions. It might feel spring-like some days but last weekend was a nasty reminder as to how unpredictable the weather is now. I'll send out another newsletter if I decide to plant next week. Have a good week. t

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