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  1. Since moving to zone 7 from zone 4, I am completely reworking my gardening techniques. I have discovered the winter garden, much to my great glee. Even now (Nov 24) my garden is full of wonderful crops, all cool weather vegetables; even the bell peppers and green snap breans are still producing albeit much slower. We have only had to cover those crops twice when we were given frost warnings. Imagine my delight, however, to go out the next morning, and instead of finding frozen and dead plants, to see vigorous, lush greenery! For thanksgiving I enjoyed a mixed green saute (spinach, collards, kale) and a romaine salad, all freshly picked 30 min. before dinner! So as another gardening year approaches, I am in the planning stages of 2019's garden improvements. For beginners we will be starting much earlier, having the bulk of the garden completed a month before we would have even started in zone 4! Yippee! During the course of my research I have discovered that there are MANY cold tolerant vegetables that I had not even comsidered; and particular cultivars are more cold hardy than others. I would never have known (before I researched it) that green & white swiss chard, for example is more cold tolerant than the multicolored or red stemmed chards. Savoy cabbage, which I never was that interested in, is much more cold hardy than the smooth types, so I am MUCH more interested in it now. For others who might be considering winter season gardening, I am posting a list of cold hardiness of various veggies - tomatoes, for example, tend to be killed at 32 degrees, yet some cauliflower cultivars survive as low as -15 (yep, minus 15 degrees)! So won't you join me in planning a winter garden for next year, if only for a fun mental exercise? You will be amazed at what will thrive below 32 degrees! from www.sustainablemarketfarming.com Here’s our temperature list at which various crops die: 35°F (2°C): Basil. 32°F (0°C): Bush beans, cauliflower curds, corn, cowpeas, cucumbers, eggplant, limas, melons, okra, some Pak Choy, peanuts, peppers, potato vines, squash vines, sweet potato vines, tomatoes. 27°F (-3°C): Most cabbage, Sugarloaf chicory (takes only light frosts), radicchio. 25°F (-4°C): Broccoli heads, chervil, chicory roots for chicons, and hearts, probably Chinese Napa cabbage (Blues), dill, endive (hardier than lettuce, Escarole more frost-hardy than Frisée), annual fennel, large leaves of lettuce (protected hearts and small plants will survive even colder temperatures), some mustards and oriental greens (Maruba Santoh, mizuna, most pak choy, Tokyo Bekana), onion scallions, radicchio. Also white mustard cover crop. 22°F (-6°C): Arugula, Tatsoi. (both may survive colder than this.) Possibly Chinese Napa cabbage (Blues), Maruba Santoh, Mizuna, Pak Choy, Tokyo Bekana with rowcover. 20°F (-7°C): Some beets, cabbage heads (the insides may still be good even if the outer leaves are damaged), celeriac, celtuce (stem lettuce), some corn salad, perhaps fennel, some unprotected lettuce – some OK to 16°F (-16 °C), some mustards/oriental greens (Tendergreen, Tyfon Holland greens), radishes, turnips with mulch to protect them, (Noir d’Hiver is the most cold-tolerant variety). 17°F (-8°C): Barley (cover crop) 15°F (-9.5°C): Some beets (Albina Verduna, Lutz Winterkeeper), beet leaves, broccoli leaves, young cabbage, celery (Ventura) with rowcover (some inner leaves may survive at lower than this), cilantro, endive, fava beans (Aquadulce Claudia), garlic tops may be damaged but not killed, Russian kales, kohlrabi, perhaps Komatsuna, some covered lettuce, especially small and medium-sized plants (Marvel of Four Seasons, Rouge d’Hiver, Winter Density), curly leaf parsley, flat leaf parsley, oriental winter radish with mulch for protection (including daikon), large leaves of broad leaf sorrel, turnip leaves, winter cress. 12°F (-11°C): Some cabbage (January King, Savoy types), carrots (Danvers, Oxheart), multi-colored chard, most collards, some fava beans (not the best flavored ones), garlic tops if fairly large, most fall or summer varieties of leeks (Lincoln, King Richard), most covered lettuce (Freckles, Hyper Red Rumpled Wave, Parris Island, Tango) , large tops of potato onions, Senposai, some turnips (Purple Top). 10°F (-12°C): Beets with rowcover, Purple Sprouting broccoli for spring harvest, Brussels sprouts, chard (green chard is hardier than multi-colored types), mature cabbage, some collards (Morris Heading), Belle Isle upland cress, some endive (Perfect, President), young stalks of Bronze fennel, perhaps Komatsuna, some leeks (American Flag), Oriental winter radish, (including daikon), rutabagas, (if mulched), tops of shallots, large leaves of savoyed spinach (more hardy than flat leafed varieties), tatsoi, Yukina Savoy. Also oats cover crop. 5°F (-15°C): Garlic tops if still small, some kale (Winterbor, Westland Winter), some leeks (Bulgarian Giant, Laura, Tadorna), some bulb onions (Walla Walla), potato onions and other multiplier onions, smaller leaves of savoyed spinach and broad leaf sorrel. 0°F (-18°C): Chives, some collards (Blue Max, Winner), corn salad, garlic, horseradish, Jerusalem artichokes, Vates kale (although some leaves may be too damaged to use), Even’ Star Ice-Bred Smooth Leaf kale, a few leeks (Alaska, Durabel); some onion scallions (Evergreen Winter Hardy White, White Lisbon), parsnips, salad burnet, salsify, some spinach (Bloomsdale Savoy, Olympia, Tyee). Also small-seeded cover crop fava beans. Even Colder: Overwintering varieties of cauliflower are hardy down to -5°F (-19°C). Many of the Even Star Ice Bred varieties are hardy down to -6°F (-20°C). Walla Walla onions sown in late summer are hardy down to -10°F (-23°C). Winter Field Peas and Crimson clover (used as cover crop) are hardy down to -10°F (-23°C). Hairy vetch and white Dutch clover cover crops are hardy to -30°F (-34°C) Sorrel and some cabbage (January King) are said to be hardy in zone 3, -30 to-40°F (-34 to -40°C) Winter wheat and winter rye (cover crops) are hardy to -40°F (-40°C). Attached are some pics of my growing garden taken Nov 20th after we had a freeze. (The third is just for "Awwwww……..")
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