Communal Beat

“Mushville” Frost in the Garden

vibrant kaleLike many gardeners in the Comox Valley,

I knew that frost was coming in November. But, I didn’t think it would last quite this long and get quite as cold as it did. Note to self, frost kills, especially greens.


I still had what I thought were “frost tolerant” veggies outside.

Kohlrabi, endive, mizuna, baby bok choi, radishes, and kale. Normally, these plants take a hit of frost but then bounce back when the frost melts. Not this time.


It’s mushville outside.

Everything but the kale looks soggy. Even the hearty kohlrabi had spots of frost damage in its crunch goodness. The taste had totally gone off so off to the compost pile they went. Alas…


The crops that did survive

were either deep in the soil or inside our unheated greenhouses. Parsnips and black Spanish radishes were nice and cozy, just a couple of inches below the soil surface. Next year, I’ll mimic what nature wants and provide all the root vegetables with a deep layer of mulch so that the frost doesn’t turn them into a soggy mess.

mushy parsley

Inside the greenhouses,

an abundance of baby greens were still perky. Lettuce, arugula, baby bok choi & spinach, sheltered with just a layer of plastic, were perfectly happy. And my, what an abundance of chickweed growing in and around these plants. Yummy goodness for winter salads and soups. A cold frame or cloche would mimic this if you didn’t have access to a greenhouse.


I’m still figuring out seeding dates and timing of transplanting but it’s a delicious experiment.

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