As the colder months of winter approach, here are 3 ways to protect your cold-hardy winter vegetables from extreme temperatures.
If you live in an area where you have temperatures below freezing in the winter (which includes most of the U.S.), you may give up on gardening during the cooler months. While you can’t grow most summer crops year round, you don’t necessarily have to stop gardening altogether.
With a combination of indoor herbs and other container plants, and a few cold-hardy crops outdoors, in many areas you will still be able to supplement your winter dinner table quite nicely with fresh, home-grown food!
This article shares some helpful tips for protecting your outdoor winter crops from extremely cold temperatures when they arrive.
…The big four of cold-hardy vegetables: mache (lambs lettuce or corn salad), spinach, kale, and cabbage. When given sturdy protection from ice, snow and cold winds, I have often seen these little guys survive temperatures as low as 10°F (-12°C). The seedlings must be started indoors because soil temperatures remain too cold to support strong germination, but enclosures that trap solar heat help warm the soil, too.
Wind-Proof Cold Protection
After experimenting with many methods, I have come to rely on three simple set-ups – a cold frame, plastic-covered tunnels reinforced with arches of wire fencing, and bed toppers made from old windows. Here are the pros and cons of each.
1. Cold frames block wind beautifully as long as they have a heavy lid that won’t cave in when loaded with ice, snow or heavy rain….
2. Reinforced tunnels made from arches of wire fencing or concrete reinforcing wire, covered with plastic securely tucked in at the edges, also do a great job protecting hardy seedlings. Simple hoops covered with plastic will not do; the wet snows typical of late spring will smash such a tunnel flat, and gusty winds can do wretched things to slack plastic tunnels. But if you already have tomato cages made from concrete reinforcing wire, you can easily bend them out into arches and then cover them tightly with plastic. When weather turns very cold, I usually cover such frames with an old blanket to help them hold more warmth.
3. Window frame toppers have become my favorite way to push the season because they offer the sturdiness of a cold frame with the convenience of tunnels….
Image Source: GrowVeg.com