It is one of the colder and nastier Decembers in the past several years and yet, remarkably, we have leafy green crops growing just fine under row covers. What's even more remarkable is these crops seem to be doing far better than the crops in Hoop houses and under row cover. This gives them a lot more protection, in theory. Thus the hoop house crops should be doing a lot better than the crops that have only a double layer of row cover over top.
And yet they are not. I suspect that in Feb they will either take off and give us lots of high quality leafy greens or they will decide it is time to reproduce and bolt to seed and be unusable as food crops (but we will likely collect the seeds for future use).
I am not sure why this is happening to the hoop house crops but I suspect because they have been too protected and too coddled. The plants in the hoop houses have never been exposed to wind, full sun, rain or any other weather other than cold temperatures and the cold temps have not been good for a lot of crops in the hoop houses. The crops, especially the leafy green crops, in the houses are rather tender. In contrast the outside crops were exposed to all sorts of weather before being ensconsed in a double layer of row cover so these crops are much more hardy, much more as it turns out, as there is hardly any frost or wind burns on these things. This is good, because there is a farmers market this coming Saturday and I can harvest literally whole beds of small heads of heirloom lettuces that will probably not get any bigger than they already are. There is also nice arugula and mizuna along with spring mix. The Napa cabbage is not looking as nice but I will be willing to bet the cold conditions have made it much more yummy. Frankly, I don't know why Napa keeps being planted, we rarely sell any despite being told it is a very popular vegetable at the farmers market (if it is so damned popular why are we the only farm with it and why is it not selling at all?). And yet there it is in the garden, again.
I wish the hoop house crops were doing better and the crops not in hoop houses had all died because it is much much more enjoiable to go into a hoop house and harvest. In hoop houses, especially if it is at all sunny out, it tends to be spring like-warm, no winds, humid, nice. Contrast that with the plants outside that tend to be harvested in cold, windy wet weather, not nice.
But the outside crops have not died and are quite high quality so we put up with harvesting when the weather allows and doing it in generally pretty nasty conditions