Monday, November 24, 2008

Harvest Day - cold snap and the coldframe

We have had a cold snap for the last couple weeks bringing temperatures significantly below freezing, even reaching the double digits at times and that's not even counting the biting windchills during the day which I saw as low as minus 16C. These plummeting temperatures have frozen the top layer of soil and killed off many of the cold hardy vegetables that remain in the garden, though some of the kales are still holding on. Tonight it has started to snow and by tomorrow we are expecting around 15cm.

Here is the ground in the garden today:

Pea shoots, mustard greens and kale in the frozen garden.

My polytunnel is usually a peaked structure that I can stand in but some changes meant that it is temporarily a low tunnel covered in vapour plastic over commercial coldframes. Next year, my hubby and I will be designing and building a more interesting and insulated greenhouse and I look forward to it!

Meanwhile, how are the plants inside?

Calendula in flower, coriander, bunching onion and a radicchio I think, along with others.


The florence fennel which some suspicious, though published, print sources say is hardy to zone 4 (I think the other quote of zone 7 is probably more on the money but we'll see) has broken tops and minimum cold damage and the chard, along with some other plants, have fainted but I know the chard for one will recover quickly. All in all, things look not too bad. This week the temps will be closer to normals for this time of year, hovering around 0C, which might allow for some recovery.

I'll be cleaning off snow tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

I must try some kind of polytunnel/cold frame/greenhouse. I'm so jealous of your green plants.

Leigh said...

Nice looking greens in the tunnel!
I've only been fooling around with fennel for a couple of years, but I have had good success over-wintering Bronze from Peters Seeds & Research in z3-4 without protection. Peters has been breeding fennels for cold hardiness. Another fennel of theirs, Zefa Tardo, is supposed to be their most hardy variety. I have not yet grown ZT enough to assess the hardiness, but it would be a good one to try.

Ottawa Gardener said...

Thanks for the suggestion. I am going to give it a try, and look around at Peter's seeds while I'm there!