Killing Frost

Of course it was too good to be true. As you probably experienced, the beautiful warm weather broke and temperatures plunged below freezing — our lowest was 22°F — almost overnight. Initially, I thought everything would be fine. Everything I planted is frost-resistant...or so I thought. I put the greenhouse cover on when the lows hit the forties. The only plants exposed were the kale, which are well known to thrive in the cold, so I wasn't worried about that. The first few days of the cold, everything seemed to be drooping a bit, but okay on the whole. Once night time temperatures dropped below freezing and daytime temps stayed below 50, the problems started.  

The pepper cress has suffered the most damage. I think I'll actually have to dig it up and replant it, which is a shame because I can see the true leaves starting to unfurl. Thankfully it's the fastest to sprout, and it will give me another opportunity to scatter the seeds better. The broccoli is 75% decimated, but thankfully there's one large, strong sprout with true leaves coming in smack in the  middle of the plot. The cauliflower is 90% decimated and will need to be replanted. All the alliums — two scallions and chives — are a little bent but are overall just fine.

Interestingly, the lettuces are a mixed bag. The red wing lettuce looked the worst while it was cold but it has bounced back with zero losses. The European blend looked fine during the cold but is now about 50% dead. I will need to lightly re-scatter these. The kale is predictably fine, no losses whatsoever. The weather has started to warm up again, with a high of 70°F today. Funny enough, the dill has started coming up and I spotted one tiny red celery sprout. I'm hoping the cucumber comes up soon, but I'm afraid the seeds may have rot in the ground. I will have to pull a couple up and check this weekend.

One annoying thing I have to do is make a new greenhouse cover frame. This one is a good three inches too short, which I didn't think would be a problem at first. Turns out, it sits on plants and allows rain to collect at the base, which further weighs on plants. A minor thing to make, but still annoying and will require more precise measurement.

Sherród FaulksComment