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from the Field

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December 24, 2017
Officially Winter With Cold but Increasing Daylight
Notes From The Field
By Derek McGeehan
Farm pond barn snow scene.
It's official. With the Winter Solstice the Winter Season has descended based on our planet's movement around the sun. We're also pointing more away from the sun this time of year and any captured warmth is fleeting. Fortunately the start of winter and cold coincides with increasing daylight hours, thus giving a positive spin to the coldest season, as we circle the sun. Approaching the New Year we'll endure some extreme cold and temperatures will remain below freezing, 10-15 degrees below average, for the next 10 days apparently. As long as the sun shines during the day our unheated tunnels will remain warm enough through the night, retaining some of the earlier captured sunshine/solar radiation. With this expected deep cold, we'll have to wait for a late-morning, sun-inspired thaw inside the tunnels in order to harvest the spinach, arugula, and other greens.
We're also now in the middle of our 'Persephone Period', when daylight is less than the important 10-hour mark, when plants' growth slows down considerably, but not completely. Five weeks from now, at the end of January, daylight will eclipse the 10-hour mark and we'll be into February and halfway to spring. Inside our structures that house our winter greens, growth is now going to slowly speed up and by the end of February spring will be in the air. For now we enjoy/tolerate this cold and remain thankful for plants' ability to grow at this latitude, in this climate, in this season, with 'minimal' protection. Thank you for your support.
Winter Solstice celebrated in the large meadow at Longwood Gardens.
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