When the first frost arrives in the garden
Oh no! A pristine white layer of frost recently covered my lawn in early morning. My plants look like glass statues. What should I do about the frost in the garden?
When the frost arrived this year, I was completely unprepared, but I guess it's here now! It's often quite cold here where we are. Even our neighbors don't get freezing temperatures as often as we do. And my little cottage garden has been spared completely so far. It's completely fine of course. Just a little unexpected.
The weather reports have been quite optimistic lately, which is why I'm so surprised by the sudden cold spells. We have had around 68 degrees (20 degrees Celsius) during the day and 45 degrees (7 degrees Celsius) at night. It's actually a bit strange that the temperatures can fluctuate so much locally.
Of course, it's fall time in my garden. I tried to avoid growing vegetables that might freeze this time of the year. Carrots and black salsify are safe underground. And leafy greens like lettuce as well as some cabbages can do just fine even when the temperatures drop. My tomatoes in the polytunnel are a different story though. They can be difficult to salvage if we have frost in the garden. But the polytunnel seems to have done its job.
My beets, celery roots and corn worry me the most right now.
The corn plants are easily destroyed by frost, but the cobs can actually keep ripening if the cold spell is temporary. I'm going to leave them as long as I can since we had a cold spring and the plants grew slowly in the beginning. These types of situations is exactly why I want to start corn indoors before I put the plants outside. You never know. A great season with healthy plants can be ruined by a single night of frost in the garden. That's why we want to use plants that we can harvest as soon as possible. At least up here in zone 3!
Beets and celery roots grow more above the ground than underneath it, which is why I want to harvest them pretty soon. The celery roots haven't been growing very well this year though. Instead, they were basically smothered by my field peas. So I'm happy with whatever I get this year. I'm hoping to get better results next season!
Most of my vegetables seem to be doing just fine despite the frost. But I'm actually quite sad about my dahlias. The first night of frost in the garden took them out completely. And I didn't even have time to pick the last ones!
One good thing about frost in the garden is at least that I can start preparing for my perennials. Time to remove the dahlias and prepare the beds for new life. I'm so excited about it! I can't wait to fill my beds outside the red greenhouse with lovely perennials. How do you cope with frost in the garden?