When Patryk Battle and Frances Juhlin were here at the Folk School teaching the Winter Harvest Cooking class in January they led the class out to the garden for a quick lesson/experiment in Winter gardening. The students planted lettuce and kale starts into a bed and mulched heavily with aged grass clippings and covered with a floating row cover. They assembled a series of plastic hoops over the bed and covered the hoops with a piece of opaque plastic. Within the next few weeks, Brasstown experienced not one, but two periods of extreme winter weather. Both times the temperatures dropped below 10 degrees for 3 consecutive nights.
Frances was here earlier this week and was anxious to check on the little ones. We peeled away the plastic and the row covers to find that the plants seem to have survived their January stress test and have even grown a bit too. Turns out the combination of the plastic tunnels and the floating row covers on top of the plants acted as a mini-greenhouse and provided enough protection for the plants during those frigid nights. We were able to remove the plastic and the row covers and let them breath a bit this week when the afternoon highs reached 68 degrees. So, it looks like we’re off to a good start with our winter garden adventure!
Keather Gougler is the Marketing & Communications Director at the John C. Campbell Folk School.