georgevandenberghe's WunderBlog

Zone 7 conditions finally reappear in zone 7.

By: georgevandenberghe, 11:52 PM GMT on January 23, 2014

My DC suburban home is in USDA hardiness zone 7 (0 - 10F winter minimum). It's been some years since we've reached that but it almost always happened before the 21'st century.

However I have seen several nights that cold this winter and expect several more in the next ten days. I am already seeing more winterkill of marginal plants such as rosemary and "hardy" gardenia than I have seen in many many years here. The last year I remember this much winterkill was 1994. The worst year of my half century in DC for winterkill was 1977 where many established evergreens (boxwood etc) were wiped out. I don't think we'll see a repeat but winter is only half over... .. .. ??

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arctic air garden damage, more than thought

By: georgevandenberghe, 2:52 PM GMT on January 20, 2014

I went out to my rental garden for the first time in three weeks. The broccoli in both my backyard and rental garden has been destroyed. Low single digits F with a 60 hour freeze were beyond its tolerance. So that's it till Memorial day for broccoli unless we have another spring like 2012 when I got it May 4.

Brussels sprouts were lightly burned but appear okay and I expect a few decent meals of them between President's day and early April. After that they will bolt to seed. Next winter I will start them earlier (mid June) and have a season from Thanksgiving to April.


As expected Lettuce was destroyed.

Updated: 2:55 PM GMT on January 20, 2014

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winter garden post arctic outbreak

By: georgevandenberghe, 11:36 PM GMT on January 10, 2014

In College Park MD I experienced two arctic outbreaks, one on Friday 1/3 that got down to 13F with a 4" snow cover, and one on Tuesday 1/7 that got down to 6F without snow cover. Going in I still had broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts and lettuce in good condition.

Everything survived the Friday outbreak unscathed. The lettuce (a surprisingly hardy, new for me red and green variety, Skyphos) in particular was protected by snow. However Tuesday was another matter. Exposed to 6F with no snow cover, the lettuce was destroyed. Broccoli looks somewhat damaged but far from dead. I think it has survived and if I can keep animals off of it, I will get early Spring broccoli. Brussels sprouts were lightly damaged, a few brown spots on young leaves only. Spinach appears unaffected (what little is left after rabbits and squirrels ate through the covers to get the spinach).

Overall I am surprised what made it through a significant harsh arctic outbreak.

Meanwhile time marches on and I have already started my first tomato plants. My house is very cool and they grow slowly until March so I want to have garden ready transplants by mid to late April. Warming the soil with clear plastic and planting earlier than conventional wisdom does get me a week to ten days of earliness in June. Nothing else is started yet (busy with life!) but onions and spring broccoli are ready for seeding now.

Updated: 11:37 PM GMT on January 10, 2014

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About georgevandenberghe

meteorologist and avid veggie gardener

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