Kale is in my opinion the show stealer of the fall and winter garden! It takes such a beating from the weather and yet still manages to keep on performing! And this variety, Red Russian Kale, is especially dear to me as it is heirloom seed I grew & saved from seed I purchased years ago when we were at our old homestead.
November brought with it hard frosts, freezing rain, single digit temperatures, and a thick blanket of heavy wet snow and it hasn’t phased this beautiful leafy green. When spring comes it will continue to nourish our family before blossoming, encouraging pollinators to visit the garden before it goes to seed. And just a couple plants will give an abundant supply of seed! If you’ve never had homegrown kale, you’re missing out! I’ve tried the store variety in desperation once- the year we let the ground lay fallow- and it was simply awful! It was so tough and chewy and flavorless. It doesn’t begin to compare.
•A snowstorm hit mid-month. Quite unexpectedly. Well for me at least. I pay little to no attention to weather reports and the kids had been telling me they saw it was predicted to snow but didn’t mention anything about accumulation! It was such a blessing as I woke up that Monday morning depressed about events the previous day and was determined to rejoice and be glad in this day which the Lord had made. Seeing this surprise out the window did so much to help and distract!
Buttercrunch. Safe & sound.
While the covers did provide some protection, shortly after the snowstorm, temperatures plummeted and the snow-wet covers froze to the lettuces. During that time they were inedible. Bringing them inside and thawing them and the cellular structure was damaged to sliminess. I expected we were done. But then a collection of greens, Freckles, Arugula, Claytonia, and Romaine were brought in and enjoyed just tonight at dinner so they must have recovered? Or all were not damaged? I need to investigate further.
We hadn’t been able to cover all of the patches of lettuce before this weather hit and I was able to observe that of the uncovered lettuces about 80% of the Freckles , which had done so well in the fall heat, was severely damaged whereas only 3% of the Romaine was in a similar condition!
I’m sure that this snow finally did in the cabbageworms I had spotted 6 days earlier still munching away on some of the cabbage. I was shocked to have seen them still surviving the cold weather!
The snow has since melted and we had a lovely spell of warm weather where we were able to get the majority of the remaining weeds pulled and managed and the hay mulch blanketed over the bare earth to protect it from run-off.
I didn’t spend nearly as much time out in the garden as I had hoped to do. I thought that having it would force me out of my comfort zone and into the frigid temperatures to work, but the snow and single digit temperatures made too good of an excuse especially since we’ve started homeschool lessons and I’ve so much sewing to work on.
With more weeds to pull, ground to cover with hay, baby kale to thin, lettuces to harvest, as well as bean seeds to harvest and asparagus to trim down, I have reason to get some fresh air this month if weather permits! I find few things as helpful with beating the winter-time blues than finding some gardening chores to do… and then of course next month it’s already time to start onions!!
•Be prepared for an early visit from winter! It’s better to be safe than sorry.
•You’ve got a greenhouse, use it. I could have taken all the work of fall gardening I’ve done since July SO much farther if there would have been that second layer of covering to protect it from the wet heavy snow.
•Have winter’s cover of hay mulch here and ready to go before you need it AND next years as well. I really wanted to have this done and now until next summer it will be all about finding that delicate balance in weather where the ground is neither too muddy or too frozen to pick up the old round bales you’ll see lying in fields rotting away.
•Harvest the pole bean seeds and bring them inside to dry instead of leaving them on the vines next year. That way I can get that area cleaned up and I don’t run the risk of having the weather keeping them from drying out.
Do you live in an area where you’re able to grow a garden in November? How is it coming along?
Jennifer A says
I love these posts! You inspire me to do much better in my garden next year. I just hope I’m able, my thumb has not proven to be green yet. I can’t believe how much snow you’ve already gotten. We’re still enjoying fall weather here, although it has gotten pretty chilly. If we had that much snow, the whole town would stop for a day or two. Thanks for sharing!
We lived in NC for a short while many years ago and remember well giggling about how the store shelves would empty of bread and water when there was a dusting on the ground! A snow like this one here only effects things during the fall and for a few hours afterwards until the roads are cleared. That said, I envy your extended season. I’m not much of a fan of the cold. 🙂 I hope your garden does wonderfully next year! Be patient, especially if you didn’t grow up around it, gardening really well takes experience and good soil so if you’re deficient in one or both, it could take a while to get good at it. Especially if it’s the latter. You might need to consider yourself a soil farmer for a while first! I know I do! I saw a little sign I shared it on FB earlier in the year. It said, Remember, loam wasn’t built in a day. I swear I chanted that all summer to myself by way of encouragement! Blessings to you Jennifer 🙂
I have to take care where in the fridge we store lettuces…once they’ve frozen, they are done…*ask me how i know*
That’s what I figured so how these lettuces made it and the other ones didn’t is beyond me. Thanks!
Yes I can!!! :). Of course it’s spring here so it doesn’t really count. I love your garden updates Quinn. I’ve missed reading here. Ironically I just did a garden update on our blog today. This year we’re trying shade houses and are watering with grey water. It seems to be working well on our small experimental garden so far! Hopefully I can extend it further next year. Of course we’ll never have my dream gardens here, but it’s nice something is working. I was very sad the past couple of years with the gardens dying the way they did. What sewing are you doing? I think you are amazing doing all you do. I would love to do more of our sewing. It’s one thing I enjoy doing when I get around to it. I hope you have a wonderful day and enjoy that beautiful snow when it comes again- it’s lovely!
No fair! Lol! I’m excited for your innovative ways to try to combat the heat there! I pray that they’re met with much success!
My dresser is piled high with all of the sewing! I’m in need of a few new skirts so I’ve got those half done and discovered that with all the feet and little attachments that Bill bought me, a zipper foot isn’t one of them. Glad to live in Amish country. I imagine it won’t be too hard to find one. Also, I’ve a pile of fabric to make drapes, but right now I’m mostly working on repurposing dresses into aprons. I’m going to do a little test run and open up an Etsy shop in the next couple weeks hopefully. Put out some tangible goods instead of just words 🙂 Bill encouraged me to do one with the gathering apron I posted years ago, but I hated sewing so much it gave me such anxiety to even contemplate it. So imagine my surprise when today I was a bit bummed out that I didn’t get any time on the machine today! I’m so thankful for the change! Many blessings to you dear Renata! Soak up a bit of sun for me today would you?
Thank you for your prayers Quinn. I know I pray about my garden often too 🙂 You sound very busy with your sewing. I love that you are opening an etsy shop. You remind me of the Proverbs 31 woman – someone who I aspire to be like. I also have some curtains (drapes) to finish. We’ve just completed our foster care child’s room & now I have (theoretically) time to work on new curtains for the kitchen/dining area. I really do love to sew once I’m on the machine, but for some reason it seems like a big job to get there.
I will get that sun for you – in fact I’ve got more than my fair share today as the piglets managed to bend a piece of metal back on their shed wall & so I was just out chasing them (which is why I am not flaking under the a/c vent catching up on here). No need for exercise routines with animals around….
I wish we could share our weather back & forth a bit – I’ll send you some sun and take some or your precipitation 🙂
Actually we’ve had a lovely wet summer so far ( onto day 9) so I’m not complaining 🙂
Have a lovely day
Hi Renata! I’m so glad that you’re getting some rain this year- what a blessing! I do realize what a blessing it is to live somewhere we don’t have to worry about such extremes in weather most of the time. It’s been so cloudy and dark though, I could have used some of your sun this week. Is it today or tomorrow that’s the shortest day of the year for us? I’m so excited to have the worst of the dark days behind me… but I suppose that means just the opposite for you so enjoy all the daylight for me! Hope you find some time with all those daylight hours to get some sewing done. If the pigs will let you! (We sent away our pigs to a neighboring farm to be bred!! I’m looking forward to the possibility of some piglet antics of our own next April! 😀 ) Blessings, Quinn