Jack Frost in the Winter Vegetable Garden

comments (0) November 23rd, 2010

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ChrisMcLaughlin Chris McLaughlin, contributor
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Protect your garden from a killing frost.
 
Photo by Photo Bobil under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.Click To Enlarge

Protect your garden from a killing frost.

 

Photo by Photo Bobil under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.



Those of us enjoying the harvest from our fall and early winter vegetable gardens be forewarned; Jack Frost takes no prisoners. If he hasn't yet stopped by a garden near you, he's well on his way. Some of us have already had snow, and others are just now battening down the hatches in preparation of spiraling temperatures. Your broccoli, herbs, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, cauliflower, and even lettuce can be spared the wrath of Old Man Winter if you know when's he's going to show up.

Many of you living in snowy areas have plenty of advanced notice. But those of us in milder winter areas often get side-blinded by an overnight  hard freeze. So, how do you know to prepare for a temperature drop? You may not want to wait for the evening to roll around just to have it sprung on you by the 10:00 news. If you find out at that late hour, usually you'll look out the window, then at your fireplace, then back to the window. Chances are you'll end up crossing your fingers and just hoping for the best just to avoid numb fingers fumbling with burlap in the dark. Understandable.

So try to figure it out a little earlier and make some educated guesses. Step outside in the late evening and look up. If all you see is a clear, cloudless sky - there's one clue for you. If the air feels dry, there's no wind, and no condensation on your car windshield - you have some more clues. At this point, it's best to err on the safe side and prepare vegetables and other plants for cold that could kill. If you head back outside around 10:00 that night and the temperatures are already below 45 degrees, you'll know your guess was right.


posted in: winter vegetables, frost protection, frost in the vegetable garden