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I went out to my big cold frame today: the kale looks splendid but the broccoli appears to be dying in spite of the bed being covered with clear plastic. So I cut the broccoli back hard and covered it with a heap of leaves before I put the plastic back over it even though I think it is a goner.

Elliot Coleman of "4 Season Garden" goes inside his unheated greenhouses and covers his growing beds with 3 layers of plastic but I got lazy and only covered mine with one layer. Sometimes taking shortcuts does NOT pay, though the broccoli might have died anyways. Well at least I should have kale to dress up my early spring salads!!!!!!

Some areas will overwinter cabbage but I have never had much luck with it. Mi Gardener has found that some veggies are cold hardy that I never would have thought of! Cilantro in my summer garden is very short-lived: I never would have guessed that it enjoys a tough of frost!

 

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You covered it with clear plastic which is a huge mistake regardless of what you see on the internet. Clear plastic will cook whatever you have underneath it. It's like a tiny greenhouse with no ventilation over your little plants.

I would use a frost cover fabric, row cover or sheer curtains to keep the heat in. Those materials do shade plants a bit but they will keep the warmth from the soil in while preventing the sunlight from overheating everything.

I was just cleaning up my little garden. The kale looks okay, strawberry plants look like sad little plants, but the volunteer violas are blooming! Not a lot of blooms but enough to make a small bouquet if I wanted. The chickweed is growing like crazy, but I'm not sure if I really want to try eating that.
 

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Oh, I have been using clear plastic in the winter time for years: If I were in a warmer climate it would not work, but, our cold winters prevent any serious hear build up
 

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I left my beets out until the ground froze and there was snow. I just had them covered with some garden waste, clippings, etc, along with a whole bunch of snow. I brought them in, washed them up, and put them in my frig drawer. Still using them for juice! Beets have to be about the toughest veggie for this!
 

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Oh, I have been using clear plastic in the winter time for years: If I were in a warmer climate it would not work, but, our cold winters prevent any serious hear build up
Interesting. We don't get much sun from November to February but it is enough to cook plants under clear plastic on those rare sunny days. Maybe it's the angle of the bed. The one I tried was facing south. What kind of plastic do you use? I used a clear shower curtain.
 

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It was unseasonably hot today, was 42 degrees on the pickup display. I went to the hay auction and saw near dusk it was 36 degrees but the sun was still out a bit, a fella in a short sleeved tee shirt, another was in shorts and some version of open toed Crocks. Normally this week is around 5-10 degrees for a high, and any thought of a garden is just a fantasy, can’t plant much here until May. could use 5 layers of plastic, it will die here. Enjoy reading about it tho.
 

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Oh, I have been using clear plastic in the winter time for years: If I were in a warmer climate it would not work, but, our cold winters prevent any serious hear build up
Using clear plastic here in Mo. for years for my winter crops.
 

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Iowa 5A. We've had no issues growing rhubarb, lettuce, cabbage, spinach, kale, broccoli, collard greens, parsley, carrots, parsnips, turnips, peas, arugula, I can go on. We use a homemade tunnel with bubble wrap between 2 layers of plastic, and it works consistently well.
 

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Danaus29, I splurged and bought woven greenhouse cover. I cover the growing beds with the larger scraps after I had cut the plastic to go over the hoops.

Most of my ground is frozen right now: the chilly ground is probably what keeps the growing bed rom overheating

And, yes, I have found that beets are almost as hardy as kale. I grew them one year in the greenhouse so that I could harvest late beet greens. In early January they were no longer producing greens and so I harvested the roots, trimmed off the frostbitten spots, and served them as cooked beets. It was awesome
 

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It was probably my method then. Now I have row cover wires which I didn't have time to set up for fall, maybe I will be able to get them in before spring. That will give me time to find an alternative to plastic shower curtains.
 
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