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Our February Arctic Blast

South Carolina's weather is predictably predictable. We can predictably predict that it will be all over the map.

There is one constant we have had with the last few years, including this year, that we can count on a few freezing days in February. It is interesting how this arctic blast will effect your crops.

A few of your winter crops may be “knocked back” a little, but will quickly recover. Remember that even though the temperatures dipped below freezing, that it didn't dip for long. The actual ground didn't freeze.

A few factors came into play with this past freeze that determined whether your plants survived or not.

The first factor is the age of your crops. New, tender, baby seedlings are not as strong and can be killed by a freeze.

Also the variety of plants can be a deciding factor on whether the freeze kills or not. Leaf lettuce do better in dealing with the up and down temperatures of South Carolina, however the leaf lettuces are not as frost tolerant.

I planted my leaf lettuce mix in a five gallon pot and the freeze did not effect the plants one bit. It may be because it was closer to the house, allowing more shelter from the elements.

The Big Red Barn, which has programs for active duty and veterans, has a garden right down from the store. Their garden is made up of raised beds on legs, for easy access. Their garden looks wonderful, but their lettuce didn't survive the freeze.

I believe the beds being raised up could have caused the dirt to freeze somewhat, killing the lettuce. It was also a little colder up in Blythewood, than it was at my house.

Gardening is never one dimensional. Several factors come into play. I am going to use a sport analogy.

You have different sports, such as racing, which there is a clear winner. It is pretty much one dimensional. You run and if you are the first to cross the finish line, then you win.

Well then, how about that football game with the bad call? Football is multi-dimensional. There are so many rules, players and of course don't forget the referees, who get to make the calls.

Football has eleven positions. If the football field was a garden these positions would be rain, soil, fertilizer, gardener's time, plant timing, sun, weather, plant hardiness, soil temperature, and erratic temperature change. All of this comes into play when deciding how your garden is going to handle everything from frost to heat waves to lack of rain.

As a gardener, you need to be a detective- or maybe a coach. You need to take everything into account. “My winter crops froze and died.” Well this is just half the story. Why did your cold weather crop die?

Be a coach to yourself as well. Give yourself pep talks and sometimes a tongue lashing. Half of the fun of gardening is the challenge. As always, Get Growing South Carolina.

Be sure to come out and join us for some fun gardening fun. Click Here to sign up for classes. Also sign up for our February Garden Box with a Heartwarming Soup Theme. The box comes complete with seed potatoes, onions to plant, carrot seed, little tommy thumb mini sugar peas and easy to follow directions. Learn to grow this year with Sal's.

Growing is a year round sport, not seasonal like football---------------

By subscribing, you are insured the rarer, more fun varieties that you can't always get in store. This is because this seed costs more, so we need to know how much to order.

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