If you’ve ever seen frozen lettuce, like when you find that your refrigerator drawer is set too cold, you’ll have an idea of what I found under the row cover in the hoop house today when I went out to harvest. With temps in the teens, I waited until about 9:30 for the sun to warm the hoop house a bit, but it was a frosty morning that never melted the ice off of the plastic. When I entered, the temperature inside had risen to 33 degrees, but the inside row covers had a layer of ice on them too. When I pulled them back, everything (except the Tatsoi that appears impervious) was wilted down, leaves frozen and looked terrible even the kale! I walked out wondering if I needed to call everyone that was expecting produce today with the bad news. The sun wasn’t out for very long, but when I went back in the hoop house, things were looking up! And by 11:30 am, I had my knife and my crates. With a storm and clouds moving in, the temps started dropping below freezing in early afternoon, so I cut and tucked everything back in.
This miracle of plant resilience is something that I will be pondering this winter. Remarkably, I harvested 11 pounds of mixed lettuce, 10 pounds of gorgeous radishes, 6 pounds of chinese cabbage, 6 bunches of Red Russian kale, and a few bunches of beautiful Tatsoi for today’s delivery. (I may have over-planted the tatsoi. It is not anywhere on the most popular list!)
It is amazing that 2 hours before this picture, these beautiful radish leaves were flat to the ground!