Grow tunnel and herb garden under leaves: Did the plants survive this cold winter?

el at Pelion Garden in Buffalo NY
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

In November, Caesandra Seawell, garden manager, showed us how she extends the growing season in the Pelion Community Garden at City Honors School in Buffalo.

She insulated the herb bed by adding a thick blanket of leaves and, after two frosts this fall, the parsley was still green. On another raised bed with a grow tunnel, the broccoli, kale and cabbage were still doing well even though the temperature had dipped to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

But then came our long, cold winter. Did any plants survive? The answer is yes.

Not only can these techniques help you extend the growing season into fall, they can give you a head start in spring, too.

Seawell gives us this update:

The kale is the only tunnel plant that really did well. The chard transplants and broccoli didn’t make it through the winter.

“Oddly, we had started some spinach on the opposite side of the garden and it was NOT under a tunnel; they are alive and sprouting fresh growth.

“Our herb bed that was buried under leaves still has sorrel, red veined dock, rue, oregano and lovage–it doesn’t seem like our parsley made it through this time.”

Get an explanation of how to build a grow tunnel here and how to insulate your herb garden with leaves here.

If you’d like to see the garden yourself, stop by their free strawberry social to be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 24 in the Pelion Community Garden at City Honors School, 206 Best St., Buffalo.

One of the student projects planned for the event is an art piece called a yarn bombing project for the fence of the garden. The students are looking for unwanted yarn as well as old knitted or crochet blankets to use. Get more details here.

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