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A Frosty Morn

October 19th, 2017

On Tuesday morning, we work up to our first frost of the season. It was 29 degrees in our garden, frost blanketed parts of the gardens and the lawn. All the tender vegetables and plants were hit, which is always a good thing in my mind.

At times, I have a difficult time clearing out plants that are still growing, blooming, and producing. Frost makes it easy to start clearing the garden, building compost piles, and getting on with putting the garden to bed for the winter.

Yesterday afternoon, I spent an hour or so clearing dahlias, tomatoes, peppers, nasturtiums, and all the other tender plants from the main garden. Today I’ll plant a cover crop in their stead, which should give it a bit of time to get established to cover the soil this winter. Luckily, there are still lost of crops in the garden that actually appreciate the cold weather. There is still broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, lettuce, spinach, and endive. We should be eating fresh vegetables from the garden for another month or two at least.

Frost used to be a bittersweet time in my mind, meaning the end of the gardening year, though now I’m learning to appreciate the part if plays in the cycle of the garden. I’m ready to hibernate for the winter, to a winter of sewing, crochet, and reading.

What’s happening in your garden weatherwise this week?

Friday Favorite: Frost

October 16th, 2015

Frost is a beautiful thing, perhaps not so much if you’re trying to eek a few more tomatoes and peppers out of the garden in fall, or if it kills all your spring seedlings. In the fall I like to wake up to a shimmering wonderland. Not only is it beautiful, but it signals the waning of the garden season and means that rest is ahead. Typically, the end of Sept is our first frost date. We managed to get a few extra weeks of decent growing this year.
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Yesterday we woke up to a little bit of patchy frost outside. This was our first frost, which is pretty amazing for our area. It won’t be long until things the mercury drops, we’re supposed to have temperatures in the mid 20’s this weekend. Luckily, everything left in the garden can take the cold and anything that can’t is ready to go anyways. I’m certainly ready to curl up by the wood burner with my book or my crochet hook.

What are your frost dates in your garden?

The Inevitable

September 16th, 2014

Well it looks like we may have frost on Thursday night. The gardens here are south facing and we are on top of a hill, so we get frost much later in the fall than many of the gardens in the area. I have a few melons and butternut squashes that I will cover just in case, but most everything else will be allowed to live or die depending on what happens that night.
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I used to cover tomatoes and peppers, trying to eek out a few more ripe fruits, but realized quickly that my efforts were in vain. Now I will only cover things like squash that will continue to ripen for winter storage.
frost 1
In some ways frost in welcome this time of year, particularly right now. It’s been a busy summer for us and I welcome the sense of finality that frost brings to the garden year. There’s still a lot to do to get the garden ready for winter, mulching and seeding cover crops are two big chores that will take a lot of time. It is nice to see the finish line up ahead, I’m really looking forward to a little rest this coming winter!

When is your first frost, does it seem early/late this year?

The Death Blow

November 7th, 2009

It seems like we go along unfazed by the cold until one morning we wake up to a blanket of crisp white. Yesterday morning was that morning.
The grass is completely white and crispy with frost and the fallen leaves are perfectly outlined, enhancing their beauty.
There were even frozen jeweled raindrops on some of the tree branches from the freezing rain we had the night before and the frost even covered the wood of the raised beds.
It’s fascinating how frost works, highlighting the tips of all of the leaves, outlining them in sparkling crystals.
With the frost comes a new season in the garden. I can now begin cleaning out the remnants of summer and start putting the garden to bed. I’m always reluctant to admit that winter is near until I witness the death blow that comes inevitable by surprise some morning.
The garden is now a mere shell of what it was at the height of summer. I can now admit that the glory is over and retreat to the warmth of the house to plan next summer’s gardens being thankful that I have photos of what I accomplished this summer.

This is the prodding I need, what gets you motivated to close out the gardening season?

BRRRR, it’s Cold Outside!

May 18th, 2009

Just when you think you think the last of the cold weather is over, you get a freeze warning. Freeze warnings are different than frost warning. When we get a frost warning, I rarely cover things because of the location of our property. We’re surrounded by huge trees and we’re on top of the biggest hill in the area. We rarely get frosts up here at Chiot’s Run.
Freeze warnings however are a different story. They had us scrambling last night to carry all of the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants into the garage for safe keeping. Fortunately I only have a few things in pots that can’t be carried in easily, so I covered those with big pots.
What really has me worried is our strawberry patch. They’re blooming so wonderfully and we have tons of little green strawberries forming. I would hate to lose my berries to a late spring freeze.
So they got the royal treatment, a big old blanket covers part of them and a heavy row cover is protecting the rest. If it gets as cold as they say it might (as low as 28) that might not even be enough to save them. I’m hoping our protected location up on the hill will help.
When we were driving home last night the ice indicator beeped in the car, it was down to 36 already at 11 pm.

Do frost and freeze warnings get you out scrambling to protect tender plants? What methods do you use to keep the cold away?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.