The most cold hardy greens
Last year at this time, we were chowing down on kale and lettuce leaves that survived the winter under quick hoops
and started rebounding as the weather warmed up. Not so in
2014. I was able to find a handful of brussels sprouts that had
been protected under the mulch for dinner Wednesday, but otherwise it's a
waiting game right now. The new lettuce I planted a few weeks ago
has sprouted and some of the kale plants survived and are sending out
new leaves, both of which we'll be eating in a few weeks.
positive side of the cold winter is that it helped me get a more solid
handle on the cold hardiness of various greens. Last winter, Fordhook Giant Swiss chard
survived the winter with no protection, so I thought the Swiss chard
might be just as hardy as our kale. Not so. Swiss chard I
protected with quick hoops this winter completely perished, along with
the Laciniato kale, but my troopers (Red Russian and Dwarf Siberian kale) survived the subzero temperatures under their quick hoops.
I used to think of Red
Russian as the more delicate of my two dependable kale varieties, but it
turns out that the smaller variety did better during this excessively
cold winter. Those of you in the true north should take note and
plant accordingly, although I'll admit that if we started having winters
like this one more regularly, I'd follow Eliot Coleman's advice and erect a high tunnel over my quick hoops.
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