meteorologist and avid veggie gardener
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.
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.