Row by Row Episode 28: The Most Cold Tolerant Crops in the Garden

Coldest Tolerant Crops Grown in the Garden

On this week’s episode, the guys talk about the coldest tolerant crops to grow in a vegetable garden. They begin by discussing factors that will increase cold tolerance. These include pre-conditioning and the amount of soil moisture present. If plants have been pre-conditioned to cooler temps, they will be more likely to survive than plants that experience a drastic drop in temperature. Due to water having a high specific heat, it insulates soils and keeps them from freezing. They always like to place the plants that are in the greenhouse to the outside of the greenhouse a few days before planting so they are able to adjust to the cooler outside temperatures. They talk about the cool weather champ crops that can withstand the harshest cold temperatures which include carrots, beets, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale, parsley, spinach, and leeks. Travis mentions that even with temperatures in the teens last year, he saw no damage to his carrots. They discuss the fact that collards are probably the coldest tolerant crop of them all, as some varieties have been noted to be cold tolerant down to zero degrees Fahrenheit. The crops that have moderate frost tolerance include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce, mustard, onions, shallots, radishes, and turnips. These crops will not die from a light frost, but it may burn the tips of the leaves or foliage. They recommend if you ever have a chance of building a high tunnel greenhouse that is a great investment that will allow you to grow food year and not worry about the frost.

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment this week, the guys talk about sweet corn in late fall and collards. Travis has an ear of Ambrosia corn harvested from the demonstration garden at the Hoss Sustainable Living Center. He mentions that most people only grow corn in the spring/summer, but that it can be grown throughout most of the year when no threat of frost is present. They also discuss collard varieties and reference a conversation between a seed representative about a trial between Tiger, Bulldog and Top Bunch collard varieties. Travis is really pleased with his Tiger Collards in the vegetable garden. Travis talks a little bit about the Top Bunch 2 variety that will be released soon. However, it may be a little pricy when it becomes available to buy. Greg has some cover crops starting to come up in the garden. As soon as the guys receive their onions from Steele Plant Company they will be planting onions in the garden. The tool of the week is the heat-treated steel, digging tool. Similar to the Hori Hori style gardening tool the digging tool is great for cultivating and weeding in smaller garden areas.

Viewer Questions Segment

On the question and answer segment, the guys answer questions about trimming onions and planting shallots. Greg explains that he can’t see any reason to trim the tops of onions for an upcoming frost. The tops are the location of photosynthesis which is critical to the plant. And even though they may burn a little in the frost, they will be just fine. Travis mentions that shallots can also be planted at the same time as onions. Shallots are apart of the onion family so this will allow the green onions to be harvested as a smaller version of the Yellow Granex or Texas Legend onions they grow.

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