The Mittleider Method is a recipe for highly successful vegetable gardens, using true growing principles and procedures. When a person follows the recipe carefully and completely they have wonderful success, in any soil and in virtually any climate. I am privileged to know and have experience applying these principles and procedures, but once in a while I forget to apply them completely. After growing some beautiful cabbage and broccoli plants in the protected greenhouse I hardened off some of the cabbage and planted them into our garden. No-one else in this area is planting their cabbage into the garden yet, and the serious growers’ plants are typically only on their first set of true leaves – still two or three weeks from the garden.
I know from experience that planting them in raised beds, and then covering them with small arches and plastic, can get them through most frosts and even snow and hail. However, sadly I neglected to cover my cabbage, and two hail storms and freezing temperatures have just about finished them off!
Then I brought the broccoli outside onto tables to begin hardening it off and went to Church on Sunday. What looked like a nice day at 12:00 noon turned into a terrible day within 2 hours, and a savage hail storm shredded my beautiful broccoli plants. Sob!
I have re-learned the lesson that you cannot expect favors from the elements, but must always protect your plants if you are going to extend your growing season successfully. I just hope our students learn from my mistakes and do a better job than I have done this spring.