It’s really rare here to make it to Thanksgiving day without a half dozen hard freezes, but this year we’d only had a couple of frosts up to November 26. Hence, when I saw the outdoor temperature plummeting to 36 degrees Fahrenheit before 6:00 p.m., I was resigned to the inevitable. Thankful for our turkey feast and donning an LED headlamp, I headed outside to find the two last Japanese eggplants that I had hoped would get a little bigger. I found them by lifting the branches on the plants, feeling for the extra weight, since the headlamp provided little help on the dark purple-ebony skin of the veggies. I added these last eggplants to a basket of last red peter peppers I’d picked earlier and then set about my primary task in preparing for the freeze.
I have three surprise summer squash plants with baby squash on them. I could not resist trying to save them. I covered them with an old dropcloth and a trash bag. We have at least a dozen volunteer cilantro plants. Over them I raked leaves. Next came the big garden, where I checked that plastic I had laid out a few nights ago was still in place and adjusted its fit. I made sure that my veggie tunnels were in place too. Finally, I put the glass tops back on my homemade cold frames. My plants were put to bed for a cold night.
I dreamed that it got down to 21 degrees F. I also dreamed that I had not protected my herbs. The first, thank goodness, was just a dream, because I really had forgotten to cover the herbs next to the house. No problem; the proximity protected most of them this one night, despite the 26 degree F temperature. And my protective measures took care of the rest. Today I pulled half a dozen radishes from my cold frame. I present these blessings of winter together with the blessings of summer. (Yes, those long hot pink things are radishes, not carrots!)
Do you keep your gardening growing in the winter? I’d love to hear about it! Do you have questions about winter gardening? I’ll try to answer them. It gets down below zero degrees Fahrenheit here, but we still keep things growing, all without the addition of heat. It’s a truly sustainable form of winter gardening that will work for a big swath of the world.
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