Sole Survivor

Brussels sprouts and I did not have a fantastic year together in 2012.  While we started out with a promising future and survived the move into the garden without any setbacks, our hotter-than-normal growing season was apparently not the prime conditions to develop sprouts.  I kept my fingers crossed and hopes high that once we had our first frost the sprouts' biological clock might kick in with a late season crop, but I had no such luck.

Rather than pull the plant, I followed the suggestion of my gardening friends and decided to try to overwinter it in hopes that it might produce an early spring crop (I had nothing to lose, right?).  I had chicken wire and mulch ready in the garden to wrap it all up as soon as it looked like the weather was going to turn for the worse, but it should come as no surprise that my to-do list for that last weekend before the winter weather hit was extensive and the chicken wire and mulch are still sitting in the garden along side the plant, instead of wrapped up in a nice little warm package.

And yet, despite being initially buried in 15" of snow, subsequent thawing and re-freezing, a few overnight temperatures well below zero, and even a "warm" January rain, it appears that the plant is somehow still alive!?!  Frostbitten around the edges for sure, but the inner parts of the leaves and stems are still colorful and firm.  It's hard to say if it's going to make it all the way to spring (we could have a whole lot of winter ahead of us yet), let alone if it will produce anything if it does, but this little plant is giving me a lot of hope that I actually might be able to overwinter a few cold hardy veggies in Minnesota!  And that is a very enjoyable thought, especially at this time of year.  I guess it's time to pull those cold frame plans out again, huh?

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