And P.S. - The garlic is starting to come up!And P.S. - The garlic is starting to come up!
EscaroleEscarole
This is our fall-planted onion experimentThis is our fall-planted onion experiment
Leeks and a small low tunnel for the onionsLeeks and a small low tunnel for the onions
Kale, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chardKale, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard
Hardy greens protected by row coverHardy greens protected by row cover
We have to be sure to vent them, otherwise they'll get too hotWe have to be sure to vent them, otherwise they'll get too hot
Two cold frames for our lettuces and greensTwo cold frames for our lettuces and greens
Mesclun mix growing inside a cold frameMesclun mix growing inside a cold frame
  • And P.S. - The garlic is starting to come up!
  • Escarole
  • This is our fall-planted onion experiment
  • Leeks and a small low tunnel for the onions
  • Kale, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard
  • Hardy greens protected by row cover
  • We have to be sure to vent them, otherwise they'll get too hot
  • Two cold frames for our lettuces and greens
  • Mesclun mix growing inside a cold frame

We had our first real freeze on the night of November 11. I knew it was coming, so set out my plant-protecting infrastructure.

I set the cold frames over the mesclun and a few less-hardy lettuces and other greens. I have tall hoops over the kale, Swiss chard and Brussels sprouts, so I covered them with row cover. Overall they’re pretty hardy anyway, so I wasn’t too worried about them. And I threw row cover over the onions and escarole.

I went out to check on everything the next morning, and initially I was afraid I might have made some miscalculations. Everything was frozen solid. All the greens were frozen, the leek leaves were frozen solid and even the row cover was frozen into a hard sheet. I’d never seen this before, so I started to worry. The leeks especially got me, because I know I’ve harvested them out of the snow on much colder days than a night that dipped into the 20s.

Then I remembered the rain. It had rained all day before it got cold, so everything was covered in a layer of water when the temperature dropped.

When I checked on everything later in the day, they had thawed out and were completely fine. The escarole got burned in a few places around the edges where the row cover had blown off and it was exposed, but even that damage was very very minimal. So – success! We can successfully weather a freeze.

I’ll probably keep the row cover and cold frames on for the indefinite future, unless the temperature is really going to warm up. I’ll have to regularly vent the cold frames in the mornings, though, so I don’t end up with fried greens like I did to my carrots and beets in the spring.

So here we are, in mid-November, still harvesting fresh foods out of the garden. I set a goal at the beginning of the year to work towards feeding ourselves from the garden from April through November, and we have already achieved that just with our fresh foods. On top of that we have storage crops like sweet potatoes and butternut squash, and preserved foods like canned tomato sauces and frozen shredded summer squash.

I think we are doing well.