Extend the Gardening Season With Row Covers and Layers of Leaves

Here's my Kale, sung as a bug in a rug.

Winter weather is right around the corner but we can still have fresh vegetables with a little advance planning.  If you still have carrots, a thick layer of leaves will keep the earth soft enough to dig them for many weeks to come.  Parsnips shouldn’t be picked until they have been touched by frost.  The frost sweetens them and develops the flavor.  Cover these with leaves too and mark the ends of the rows with stakes so you will know where to dig, if snow covers the ground.  The soil may freeze but there will be days over the winter where it warms up and you can go out and dig enough for a week or two as the carrots and parsnips last well in the refrigerator crisper drawer.  Kale is one vegetable that stands up well to repeated frost.  It eventually succumbs, but that day can be put off with row covers.  I secure the covers to the hoops with clothespins so I can easily pull back the cover to get at the kale.  I have given kale recipes in the posts for December 13th and 17th, 2011 and more complete instructions for parsnips with recipes in the post for February 18th, 2012 (see archives).

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