Have you ever wondered how low the temps have to go before winter veggies are damaged? I had never thought much about it because in southwest Louisiana, it never got too cold and in Kentucky and Missouri, it was too cold to have a winter garden. As hot as it gets here, I just never thought much about damaging cold before January or even February but . . I had to dig my head out of the sand and face reality last week.
Our low weekend before this past one was 16º one night and 19º the next night. I expected to lose all the lettuce and mustard greens but though the beets and broccoli would be fine. I was wrong! One of the problems is that we had not had low temps so there had been no conditioning cold. It went from fairly warm to darned cold.
More than half the broccoli is gone. Had I simply put 5 gallon plastic buckets over the plants, I could probably have saved them. The kale, which was supposed to be ok, was damaged. I lost about half of it. The carrots loved the cold. The lettuce is fine. The mustard greens and chard have some freeze damage on the leaves but they’ll be fine. The beets suffered quite a bit of damage to the greens but I believe the beets themselves will be ok.
From what I’ve heard, having those low temps in December is unusual but pretty common in January and February. I’m sorry to have lost so much of the broccoli but am very happy to still have so many plants that are doing ok.