Here in central Alabama, November is traditionally a quiet, cool, pleasant month, when a light first frost nips the heat-loving veg, and then maybe a second one brings them down. November is also when we look forward to our first taste of frost-kissed brassicas like collards.
November is the month during which the fruit trees and brassicas all begin slowly conditioning themselves for the winter, slowly building up their resistance to those deep freeze temps in the low 20s that will arrive in January.
Not this year. That arctic blast that has crippled the upper midwest has taken its toll all the way down to Alabama, where we reached a record low 18 degrees Wednesday morning and stayed there for about 2 1/2 hours. The figs were almost certainly caught completely by surprise; I’ll be shocked if they haven’t died back to the ground for a fourth consecutive year. The broccoli had been damaged by a lighter freeze the night before, so we decided to protect it under frost blanket on the coldest night, and we’re glad we did. No additional damage to it. The superstar of the freeze? The strawberries and Amanda’s arugula in Bed #2, both of which welcomed the frigid temperatures with a sweet embrace and sailed through with no visible scars.