Posted on: January 27, 2016 | Written By: Doug Oster |
It’s always a mystery how cold weather plants will react to the frigid chill of winter.
They shake off the cold when it’s down to the 20’s, but sometimes are brought to their knees when it dips below 10 degrees.
Some times rodents and other pests discover these treats to get them through the season.
Lets start with the kale; I’ve got some growing unprotected in containers on the back patio. Three plants gave up the ghost and rotted away, another has been stripped by either deer or squirrels. The former don’t seem to eat the greens, they just rip off the leaves and sometimes score the stems.
My favorite (and usually toughest) winter kale is ‘Redbor.’ Originally bred as a food crop, I grow it as an ornamental. It reaches three feet tall and looks like a purple tree. Something’s been after it, and of the three I’ve started with, only one looks like it might make it through the winter. It will take crossed fingers and the right weather to see it survive.
On the bright side, all my dusty miller plants are happily waiting out the season. I hope they make it, the second year they produce pretty yellow flowers. In one concrete planter pansies share space with dusty miller and still look viable.
In the vegetable garden the star of the show is a bed of kohlrabi, growing under the protection of a plastic domed skylight. I’m hoping as soon as the weather breaks they will continue to grow before going to seed.
Another bed has collards, there’s some arugula, carrots and broccoli still there.
In the coldframe, the kale is alive, but the outer leaves have died away in the cold. When things warm up I think the plants will continue to grow.
Part of spending late fall planting is wondering what winter will hold for us in the garden. Considering the cold snaps without insulating snow, I’d say the garden is in pretty good shape.
I can’t wait to see what thrives this spring.