07 Dec 2013

It’s Freezing Out There!

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Do you remember putting those cabbages in the ground in late August or early september? Maybe some kale or cauliflower?  Any of your crops that were put in before the fall are looking a little sorry for themselves now as the winter temperatures plummet.  What is amazing, to me, about plants of all ilks: is that they have a resilience that is sometimes baffling and sometimes plain miraculous.  Take, for example, the forests around the world and observe what happens after they have been burned down or clear cut.  They clothe themselves in a blanket of underplantings and resume their journey toward the sky.  After a number of years the plants have not only recovered, but are thriving!  In turn giving life to other plants and mammals.

If you look at your vegetables in the garden, during a cold snap, they look as though they may be in trouble and indeed some of them are!  Cabbages freeze solid, but when the weather warms they continue to be perfectly formed edible heads, showing no sign of the freeze they have undergone.  Indeed, peel off the outer leaves and you are presented with young luscious leaves that are even more delicious than they were during the summer.  Carrots, Cabbages, Kale, Cauliflower all benefit from cool weather.  Sugars are released in the feeding tubes acting as antifreeze leaving them with a sweet taste.

There are plants that do not do well in the cold weather, and most of those plants originate in places where the temperature rarely drops below freezing.  It gives me such joy to continue eating vegetables from the garden, in the winter months, and always amazes me how well they taste!  I base my garden planning year on the setup of as many winter vegetables as I possibly can.  As the season of yule arrives, I am particularly grateful for plants like brussel sprouts that are ready and sweetened by the frosts.  Rooted vegetables are even sweeter as they are basically large storage units holding the starch in place in order to ready the carrot plant for seeding next year.

Have a great season,

DD

 

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