Baby, it’s cold outside? Winterizing your garden

You wouldn’t know we were in December if you hadn’t looked at the calendar or inside any retail shop. Our fall has been mild, and our winter is slated to be dry and warm. That could mean severe cold snaps before the budding of Spring 2013. Specifically, Sunday night, Dec. 9, into Monday morning, our temperatures will dip below freezing for a few hours. For plants like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and some lettuces, cold is a fine thing. It even sweetens them a bit. However, tender leafy greens and some herbs will not tolerate the cold. Here are a few ways to protect plants from low temps:

Call it a season: Harvest what you can and let the cold take the plants.

Hang on a little longer: As you watch the 10 p.m. weather report, you realize the freeze is coming. Grab an old thin blanket or bed sheet, run outside and gently place it over the plants. DO NOT use plastic directly on plants. Plastic transfers the cold, and your plants will not survive.

Plan ahead with a mini greenhouse: Constructing a greenhouse atop your garden is easy. I have used cow-pen wire to create an arch and then placed a row fabric on top. That got me though a week of cold a few years ago. Another idea is to use PVC pipe to create the arch and then place plastic over it. If you need help with either of these ideas, send me an email.

Happy growing!

Volunteer Opportunity
Saturday, Dec. 12, 8 a.m.-10 a.m., volunteer at Twelve Hills Nature Center, 817 Mary Cliff.
Volunteers are needed to help remove invasive plants in the butterfly garden at the center’s entrance. Bring water and tools for weeding: gloves, trowels, shovels, clippers, etc.  We’ll work in a sunny area. Contact Marcie Haley, marcieh@gmail.com, to RSVP.


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