Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gardening in Uncertain Weather

I know that the weather has never been 100% predictable, but, most years, winter is pretty reliably cold, even here in Georgia. In general, it's cold with little excursions up into warmer temperatures. This year has been an exception. Lows have been in the (high) 30s and 40s, and highs in the 50s and 60s, throughout a large percentage of what should have been some much colder weeks.

We had a brief flash of actual cold, though, last week. One morning we woke up to an 18 degree morning. The good news is that a lot of what is still out in the garden didn't seem especially bothered by the sudden dip in temperatures.

The little side-shoots on the broccoli look good:


The cilantro seems healthy:


And all the uncovered greens made it, too:


I had covered the lettuces, just in case, and they "weathered" the sudden cold under their tent with no signs of damage.

The cauliflower, however, did not fare so well:


The couple of heads that were still out in the garden (I brought one inside the day before the hard freeze) are both wilted and browned. It is totally possible that cauliflower just doesn't appreciate such decisively freezing weather. However, it's also possible that, had the weather been more consistently cold, it would have done better. Either way, we are not going to be enjoying those heads of cauliflower in the kitchen.

This is what is known as "learning the hard way," something all gardeners are familiar with! In spite of all the books and online research, stuff goes wrong that could have been prevented. I could have put a tent over the cauliflower, or I could have just harvested all of it. Next year, if the circumstances are at all similar (a big "if"!), I will manage the cauliflower differently.

Later this week, we are expected to have a couple of colder nights. It's too late for the cauliflower, but I plan to put the tent back over the lettuces.

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