I Currently Have the Most Advanced Winter Rape in Estonia*

*These three plants that grew in my basement.

Those who have been following me for a long time know that after the New Year, Estonia was hit by a cold wave, when the temperature dropped below -25 degrees for several days. Of course, there was a significant thaw in Estonia before the New Year, which made the snow layer very thin and in western counties, the protective snow disappeared completely. 


Since winter rapeseed is an expensive crop to grow and can also bring great income, it was reasonable to be concerned about the health of rapeseed because it is known that the rapeseed growth mound does not tolerate extreme cold without a snow cover. My winter rapeseed was covered with a 3-4cm layer of ice/snow at the end of the cold wave. I decided that if there would be a bigger thaw, I will dig up some rapeseed plants and try to grow them in the basement to get an idea if the plants are alive. 

There were opinions on this experiment in two ways, and on one hand it was thought that breaking the root system could also kill the plant and the experiment would not give an objective result. On the other hand, I was encouraged to try – “what do you have to lose”. On January 25, I managed to dig up the plants. 

The plants found a place in my home basement, I added a growth lamp to them and started waiting for results. By February 13, it was clear that all the plants were alive and growing leaves diligently. This also gave me great confidence that the plants survived despite this cold wave. 

However, I still left the plants under the growth lamp or rather it would be more accurate to say that I completely forgot about them in the basement in the meantime 😀  

At the end of March, beginning of April, it was clear that another snowless cold wave did not come and there was excitement to see how the rapeseed fields would come out from under the snow. Fortunately, all fields are in better condition than average despite the light winter damage and the risk of reseeding disappeared. 

On April 10, the weather briefly turned very warm and parallel to the start of fertilization, there were reports of high activity of stem weevil. So it was the perfect time to dig out my “poor man’s” pest monitoring system, which you can see the construction of here. Fortunately, the weather turned cold again and I didn’t actually notice a significant attack, and the spray was left waiting for a new onset. 

On rainy April 13, I “found” the rapeseed plants in the basement and to my surprise, they were already in the flowering phase or about to reach it. It was a pity to just throw away these “survivors” and I put them back in the field to continue growing 😀 Now I have the only field with flowering winter rapeseed plants known in Estonia! 


At this point, I want to emphasize that the survival of winter rapeseed was, in my opinion, a great coincidence, not a result of deliberate action. Unfortunately, an EXCEPTIONALLY large part of winter rapeseed fields in Western and Southern Estonia have been destroyed due to cold and lack of snow cover. According to my unscientific survey on Instagram, winter rapeseed has been destroyed in over 90% of fields. In both large and small companies. It is a shame because farmers really need a good winter crop year, now they must rely on a good summer crop year to make up for the losses. 

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