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Planting for a Four Season Harvest, Part 10

Crops Withstand Light Frosts

Many crops are not affected by light frosts.  Someone once remarked in mid-October how full my garden still was of green, growing things although all annual flowers were blackened.  Beet and carrot tops, also parsley, were more luxuriant than in summer, while lettuce, Chinese cabbage and fennel were thriving in the cool weather.  Broccoli started the March before in the house, and set out in April had doubled in diameter since it first matured back in July, and was sprouting all over with side shoots.

Mulched garden

If they're mulched --- I use the autumn crop of leaves in the row and about individual plants --- these vegetables aren't even affected by the 20-degree hard frosts.  Lettuce succumbs first, although single plants can be shielded under glass jugs through November.  If you have one, the cold frame is the ideal place for late fall lettuce.  Brussels sprouts is the hardiest of the cabbage family, while kale, chard, turnip and beet tops die when the temperatures reach the teens.  Turnip roots and beets live on longer, but not through winter here.

Parsley may last in a sheltered spot, but it can't be harvested until early spring.  Place a shingle under leaves so they won't stick to the frozen ground and possibly rot.

To be continued....

Tirrell, R.  1966, February.  Planting for a 4-Season Harvest.  Organic Gardening and Farming.

Reprinted by permission of Organic Gardening magazine.  Copyright Rodale, Inc., U.S.A.  All rights reserved.

This post is part of our Planting for a Four Season Harvest lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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