Monday, October 20, 2014

Mindful Monday: Surprise! There's Frost!

This morning, taking Isis outside and letting the chickens out of the coop, I walked down the walk and noticed the dew wasn't quite so dewy.  In fact, it was frost!  

Now, this stirred mixed feelings.  

For one, I was worried.  I still have tomato vines producing fruit, and some of my herbs aren't exactly cold tolerant.  But then, frost means Autumn has taken firm hold of the land.  The air is more likely to keep its nip.  

And I do love to walk outside in the morning to see the grasses tipped with sparkling ice crystals.  For me, frost is beautiful.  Poetic.  

However, most plants don't like those frozen fingers clinging to their delicate leaves.  So here are a few things to do in order to protect your fall gardens:
  • Pay attention to the weather predictions!  Most weather forecasts will warn you a frost danger, but it's important to know that frost can form at temperatures 37° and below.  (This is too complicated to go into here, but I did research it and found this to be temperature most noted by scientific data.)
  • Cover the plants.  You can use plastic, tarps, or even sheets.  The point here is to stop the dew from settling on the plants.  Make sure the cover goes to the ground or past the top of the pot, and that fabric covers are not touching the plants.  You can uncover them after the sun has risen or temps are above 37°.
  • Alternately, you can bring your potted plants indoors overnight.  If you want those that prefer the warmer climes to keep performing, you should consider keeping them inside at this point.
  • Frost-sensitive fruits and vegetables (i.e. tomatoes) should be harvested before frost can touch them.  You can harvest them when green, just be sure to keep them in a dark space above 55° and with air movement.  The flavor may not be as full, but better that then losing them to Mother Nature.

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