Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 1/12/15

This past week, Charleston got a little taste of the winter the rest of the country usually gets. Of course, our temperatures weren’t near as low as many of you had to deal with. But the night of January 7, we got down to 18 degrees. In fact, we spent close to 48 hours below freezing! Needless to say, my hoop tunnels and key lime trees stayed covered for 4 days. The day time highs weren’t sufficient to uncover them and then have to recover them for the freezing temperatures at night. A couple days ago, the post-freeze garden inspection began.

WHAT’S NEW:

The only thing that’s new is that my garden was shocked with two days straight of below freezing temperatures with several more nights below freezing. Here are my hoop tunnel beds, all buttoned up. (Everything inside made it through without a problem, of course.)

My hoop tunnels

My hoop tunnels

Thankfully, most of what I’m growing outside the hoop tunnels survived.

IN THE GARDEN:

Casualties? Most of my black seeded Simpson lettuce and all of my red romaine lettuce. Totally frostbitten.

Red romaine lettuce ~ frostbitten

Red romaine lettuce ~ frostbitten

My red sails lettuce looks just fine, though. This is my favorite lettuce, and I think I like it even more now.

Red Sails lettuce ~ survived hard frost

Red Sails lettuce ~ survived hard frost

I had no worries about my kale, but I wasn’t sure my reine des glaces lettuce would make it. They don’t look as perky as before the frost, but I don’t see any frostbite damage.

Reine des glaces lettuce & scarlet kale ~ survived hard frost

Reine des glaces lettuce & scarlet kale ~ survived hard frost

My escarole has frostbite damage, but only on the leaf edges. I think they’re going to survive.

Escarole ~ a bit of frostbite damage

Escarole ~ a bit of frostbite damage

My herbs fared well. The parsley, cilantro, and comfrey survived without any damage. The oregano had a few branches with frostbite damage – mostly the ones that were closest to the walkway.

Oregano ~ survived hard frost

Oregano ~ survived hard frost

I wasn’t sure my sage would make it, but it came through just fine.

Sage ~ survived hard frost

Sage ~ survived hard frost

The longer (older) branches of my lemon balm were killed by the hard frost. However, the new growth is healthy. đŸ™‚

Lemon balm after hard frost

Lemon balm after hard frost

I planted some Dwarf Gray peas several weeks earlier than I was supposed to. They’re in pots under my teepee trellises. They had begun to flower when the hard frost hit. Obviously, the flowers are toast. The vines took a bit of a hit, but I think the plants will survive.

Dwarf gray peas after hard frost

Dwarf gray peas after hard frost

My onions look a bit bitten, but not bad enough to be a problem. The garlic and turnips showed no damage. The mustard greens took a bit of a hit, but nothing to worry about – just a few leaves with minor damage. My radishes have quite a few frostbitten leaves, but not enough to kill the plant, I think.

Watermelon radishes after hard frost

Watermelon radishes after hard frost

My key lime trees (in pots) took a hit – even with the plastic on them and lights on the roots. It seems the worst branches were those closest to the plastic. I’m going to need to come up with a better plan, it seems.

Tree #1 (the older of the two) doesn’t look too bad.

Key lime tree #1 after hard frost

Key lime tree #1 after hard frost

However, one of the two new key limes growing on this tree was hit with the cold.

New key limes ~ one hit by frost

New key limes ~ one hit by frost

My key lime tree #2 (had only a year) was hit the hardest.

Key lime tree #2 with cold damage

Key lime tree #2 with cold damage

The night the cold front came through was very windy, and it blew all the gum balls off my sweet gum tree. All night, I could hear them hitting my roof. My entire yard now looks like this, and they are not easy to rake up because they’re spiny. I hate these things.

Gumballs blown off my sweet gum tree

Gumballs blown off my sweet gum tree

IN THE KITCHEN:

The night I buttoned up my garden, I decided it was a perfect night to make my Autumn Harvest Soup. Soup and some hard-crusted bread – perfect supper for a cold winter’s night.

Autumn Harvest Soup in the making with escarole and turnips

Autumn Harvest Soup in the making with escarole and turnips

GARDEN BOUNTY:

It was too cold to go out and harvest much this past week, but I did harvest a little over 1/4 pound of radishes, 1/4 pound of escarole, 1/2 pound lettuce, and a little over a pound of turnips. Not too shabby for a week of deep freeze.

One night, I was craving salad, so I plucked some of my favorite watermelon radishes and a bunch of lettuce.

Watermelon radishes

Watermelon radishes

Identification is from the top, clockwise:

Red romaine,

Red romaine, Tom Thumb, black seeded Simpson, and red sails lettuces

The night I made my soup, I harvested the last of my first crop of purple top turnips.

Purple top turnips

Purple top turnips

I also needed escarole for the soup. (It took a bit of washing to clean these!)

Escarole

Escarole

How did your garden fare through the freeze this past week?

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2 comments on “Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 1/12/15

  1. Here in Summerville, SC, we are holding up rather well. Chard, spinach, collards, turnips, kale, arugula and lettuce are all doing well. Some of these were covered. Last week I pulled a wonderful carrot from my fall planting. I like to eat these raw, right from the garden. The broccoli has stopped producing and the fennel did not fare the cold snap well. We were out of town in November and although we had covered the citrus trees, we had not put the lights in them. The lime, which we almost lost last year, looks very bad, as does the grapefruit. The lemon is fine as are the two oranges (variety breed for colder climes).
    Let’s hope the coldest weather is behind us!

    • I love raw carrots straight from the dirt, too! I pulled one a week or so ago, and they weren’t quite ready yet. But I guess some of them will be very soon. I had several plantings, so I’ll be pulling them for a while. Getting ready to plant some more carrots this coming weekend – to harvest after last frost.

      My key limes should survive, but they’re going to have to work to “come back” – though they still have most of their leaves, so that’s something!

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