The Frost Garden: Vegies

We don’t seem to have had as much frost this year as last. It’s been raining a lot. But this morning we had what passes for a heavier frost in our backyard, so I thought I’d show you how the winter vegies I have growing cope.

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This was the frost that I got up to this morning. Not sure if you can make it out but it covers all the grass,  everywhere there is vegetation, but not so much where there is bare soil. It rests more heavily on mulch than bare earth too. This is part of the reason why I don’t mulch in winter (the other part being about soil temperature).

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Here are some before and after shots of how the vegies I have growing cope.

Broadbeans

Broadbeans are somewhat fragile – they can bend over and snap in wind or with heavy frost. Mine are only knee-high still. The tops flopped over:

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But there are no breakages later in the day. I’m going to think about whether my  method of supporting them (tying a cage of string around the stakes) is the best way once they get taller… A local gardening group suggests just planting them closely to support each other. But I find they’re hard to harvest that way, and they’re more prone to disease.

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Brassicas

These are cool weather crops generally so it’s no surprise that the frost doesn’t bother them. Google tells me that brassicas are sweetened by frost because water from their leaves is moved down to their roots, thereby increasing the concentration of sugar in the leaves.

Sprouting broccoli – big flappy leaves do bend a little under the weight:

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But there are no breakages:

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Tuscan kale (Cavolo Nero), completely unperturbed:

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As is the Red Drumhead cabbage:

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Carrot Family

This celery (and parsley and fennel in the background) have been in the ground all winter. They all weep over a bit:

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And bounce back up:

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Chervil is a new favourite. It grew steadily, from seed, through winter and even though it’s so dainty looking, it’s not bothered.

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Later in the day…..

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Lettuce in general seems dainty, but this upright variety (I think it’s baby cos) doesn’t bend over at all. It’ quite small still and a quick Google just told me that younger lettuces are more frost hardy than older plants.

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I’ve also got two types of beets growing: silverbeet and spinach. They grow slowly over winter but are not damaged by frost. And of course alliums do fine too -I have garlic and spring onions growing (brown onions etc have to be planted at certain times because of their daylight requirements.

Stay tuned for part two of the frost story. Why you shouldn’t leave covering young lemons until August.

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5 thoughts on “The Frost Garden: Vegies

    • Well I did and it was fine. In fact, once you leave it in after flowering it goes really bananas. But Im not sure what your winter is like. We get regular frosts here so I imagine if you have similar climate it would be fine… But if you mean leave it in the ground and harvest it to eat – Im not quite sure. Im not sure what the bulbs would taste like? Possibly not sweet?

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      • hi we have alot of Deep snow here 3 months of snow n cold,im just wondering if the fennel bulb will grow next spring ? and not rot in the ground

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      • Hmmm. Good question. We dont get any snow here so I dont have any experience to share. We get frosts several times a week. It certainly behaves almost like a weed – I’m constantly cutting it back (in fact I think it might actually be declared a weed here. At least bronze fennel, which is not the bulb variety). Did you end up giving it a try? Im assuming you’r ein the northern hemisphere as Im not sure anywhere in Australia gets three months of deep snow, even in the Alps!

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