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State of the garden address: death by polar vortex

February 1, 2018

This morning, I pulled back the row cover to inspect my garden for the first time since the polar vortex gave us two weeks of continuous below-freezing temperatures. I had a feeling that the losses would be catastrophic. For comparison, here's a photo from November 30:

 

 

 

And here is today:

 

 

Frankly, I am amazed that the 'Rubine' Brussels sprouts are holding on, though they are noticeably distressed. They even have tiny would-be sprouts starting to form, if only the temperatures would remain high enough to permit growth. Other survivors include leeks, turnips, rutabagas, arugula, and a frilly dark red lettuce that was part of a salad mix.

 

I'm disappointed that the purple sprouting broccoli (PSB) didn't make it. It overwintered beautifully for an April harvest last year (and the year before). I'll have to re-evaluate my March planting plan to make use of the space where the PSB was. Perhaps I will plant more quick-growing broccoli cousins like kailaan and broccoli raab.

 

Clearly, I have some thinking to do about my winter gardening strategies for next time. Thankfully, we have some excellent role models in Niki Jabbour and Patrick Dolan, gardeners in Halifax and Chicago, respectively.

 

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