May is lovely- but can be wild too. As we have seen this weekend in Santa Fe- a foot of snow!!
It is such a transitional time, the last burst of winter before it finally passes. I looked back on my calendars and it does usually snow every year in the first week of May, so though odd, it is actually to be expected.
But the good news is no harm done over here. All the little cool season greens and seeds were tucked under row cover and only seemed to perk up from crisp air all the moisture gifted to them. If you are wondering how cold CAN your cold season crops get…well
How low can they go?
The hardiest of the winter vegetables are Kale, Collards, Peas and Spinach which can take Temps as low as low 20’s and in the high teens.
Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Mustard Greens, Parsley, Radish, Parsnip, Turnip can all take temps 28-25 degrees.
All of these can survive under thick row cover all winter, though they may not show many signs of growth, they will start to spring new leaves in February.
Other semi-hardy vegetables are Beets, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chinese Cabbage, Endive, Lettuce, Radicchio, Rutabega, Salsify, Bok Choy, Tatsoi and Swiss Chard, tolerant of Temps from 32-29degrees. These can usually be harvested till Christmas under heavy row cover, but will need to be replanted in the spring under row cover as well. (with the exception of Swiss Chard, this patch was almost invisible all winter under no row cover… but is coming back just fine!)
So not to worry, the storm has passed, we have gathered the moisture and now we prepare for hardening off and the planting out process… More on that to come.
Wow! That would throw me for a whirl! But all of those lovely greens look so nice—ours are starting to fade as we head to summer.
You guys got a foot of snow?? Wow!! Thanks, this was great information! Your chard looks wonderful. Quick question: do you know when to plant asparagus roots? Have you had any luck with them in the desert? I planted some, but researched how to plant them AFTER i already had and did it wrong. I’d like to try again…is it too warm right now to plant again?
Hi Amber– You could probably still plant asparagus now, but the thing is it is hard to find it for sale … the nurseries get it very early because it sprouts very early.You don’t want to plant if it is starting to sprout or flower. You want to plant it dormant so it can wake up and take root in your garden. If you can find dormant roots, go ahead plant it but otherwise you must wait!
Ok, thanks so much for your reply!! When is usually a good time to plant it?
Early spring– in Albuquerque probably early March
Ok, I’ll plan for it next year then! Thank you!
Another quick question: last year we built a cold frame. I think I started my cold weather vegetables way too late (October?), so they didn’t have time to really get growing before the frosts killed them off. When do you suggest starting cold weather crops? Aside from Chard and Kale, do you have any luck with others? I’d like to grow brocolli and cauliflower, but haven’t had great success.