We knew that trying to extend the season in Central Wisconsin would be challenging. We got our first real test last night-about 1/4" of snow. Actually last night wasn't even our biggest frost yet-5 days after we planted the cold frames we hit a 27 degree overnight low. That was a hard enough frost to drop the Amaranth, Sunchokes, and Zinnias, but luckily the exposed
carrots, lettuce and kale we planted in late July are being troopers. It is very, very surreal to march back to the gardens after work thru 40 degree rain, pop the cover of the cold frame and inhale the 55 degree humid air. The Compost Hot House Garden is so far significantly outpacing the Cold Frame. The Cold Frame has sprouts up, but they are easily 50% behind the Compost Garden (pictured below)-and its only been 13 days since planting. The radishes are progressing nicely, though the short day factor is certainly slowing them down.
This October cold snap is atypical in recent history-in the past several years, snow before Thanksgiving has been rare. In fact that 27 degree frost was at the very earliest range in our First Frost Date calendar. Again, it appears that I will get a run for my money on our first attempt to extend our growing season! That being said, I am happy to say that 2 weeks in, my dream of picking fresh greens for Thanksgiving Dinner is looking feasible as air temps in the Compost Garden even at 5am have been consistently 10-20 degrees above ambient.