Frozen kale in vegetable garden in countryside.

First Days of January, Happy New Year to All Gardeners!

No, it is not snowing in Anjou, and the climate is, it must be admitted, rather mild for the season … Freezing and freezing rain are no problem for woody plants, trees, and shrubs. When dormant, their buds and cells are ready to face the cold.

For artichokes, cardoons, kale, cauliflower, spinach … that’s another story!

When the cold is transient and not very biting, just a few degrees below zero, these leafy vegetables straighten up as soon as the sweetness returns. Their defense mechanism prevents water in and between cells from freezing. These mechanisms resemble those involved in resisting water stress. It is for this reason that we can observe the plants sag in winter, as in dry periods, then straighten.

Plants that are not tolerant of cold (those that do not resist below 10 ° C) have already disappeared. As for those who are resistant to cold but not frost, you need a shelter that allows you to gain the few degrees lacking in their well-being. This prevents the water present in their cells from freezing and therefore damaging the plant.

Gardeners know how important it is to anticipate this cold period.

Before the start of winter, solid root crops such as carrots and parsnips should be put under leaf mulch and compost. A protective veil is practical for parsley, beets, chicory.

It is only when a long period of sweetness is announced that it will be possible to lift all these protections:

  • to harvest,
  • and to allow plants to breathe and dislodge rodents before they take too much advantage of the cover in the hotel which has been offered to them by our good care!

The winter season is therefore still a source of vegetable crops in regions with temperate winter. For regions where the winters are harsh, all the vegetables are brought in and stored in the cellar since the first frosts.

The Sichuan pepper berries harvested dry in November, have finished drying near the fireplace.

We rub them patiently to extract the black seeds and remove the twigs.

If you want to use the seeds later, it is advisable to place them in the cold for several weeks (at the bottom of the refrigerator). Then sown in a terrine, and placed outside in the spring, you can expect a few more pepper plants. Note that the germination rate of this species is still relatively low. You will be able to offer them or replenish a hedge.

On the kitchen side, place the dry berries in a jar, once crushed, they are perfect for roasting meats and vegetables. And, well roasted in the pan, they will also flavor your salt.

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