October 12, 2008: Brrrr!!

It finally hit. The first killing frost of the season has relegated most of the garden to a crisp, saggy mess. It's still only 28F at 8:30 this morning, so the temperature must have really plummeted last night. From the window, I can see that the two remaining summer squash plants are gone (I'm glad I picked that last tiny zucchini yesterday!), the last cherry tomato is toast, the marigolds aren't the least bit merry, and the basil is kaput. I covered the rabbit's mesclun bed and my spinach/lettuce bed last night, so I don't yet know if they were damaged by the cold.

Yesterday in the garden I planted my garlic. I've always done spring planting of garlic in past years, but I've been told it will grow much larger with a late fall planting, just before a freeze, and it looks as though my timing was perfect. Not being a connoisseur of fine garlic, I picked up two healthy looking heads at the grocery store and had enough to plant 21 cloves, with plenty left over for the kitchen. I amended the small garlic plot with composted manure mixed with peat moss, and buried the cloves pointy side up, about two inches deep. This is quite a bit deeper than my spring planted garlic, but necessary to keep the freezing and thawing ground from heaving them to the surface.

My two blueberry bushes, which had been sadly neglected for the past couple of years and rewarded me by giving me an entire cup of berries this year rather than the abundant pickings of previous years, got a good top dressing of the manure/compost/peat mixture as well. Next spring I'll be sure to give them an application of fertilizer for acid loving plants. If it warms up enough to work outside today, I need to do the same for the rhododendron bed.


  1. Granny - 28 degrees....that's cold! Yep, I can see why the garden didn't like that. Is your yearly frost date pretty consistent? I mean, on time? I looked at the info for my zone, and my frost date is supposed to be October 15th. Well, I can tell ya...that's not gonna happen. It's still 80 degrees here in the daytime, and around 57 at night. I would think the first of November would be more likely.

  2. Yes, that's pretty close to our frost date. We usually get one killing frost and then it warms up again for another month, so if I were planning on being here much longer, it would have paid to cover all the plants. The greens made it through just fine though, and that's what was most important. It's supposed to warm back up into the 70s with lows in the 40s this week.

  3. Holly cow, that's the same time it was supposed to drop to the upper 30s here, so everyone on this side of the mountains set up their hoop covers... well those of us not lucky enough to be jet setting in Arizona for the next several months.

    Great work planting the winter crops now. It never dawned on me that they need no help during the winter while you're gone and will give you great produce come spring/summer! Great idea.

    Glad it warmed up for you as you likely are sticking around just for the birth of your grandchild. Travel safe and enjoy your time with family!

  4. Sinfonian, I told you I'd tuck you in a bag and sneak you on board! Between the two of us, we might get something to actually grow down there! I know what I need...your compost pile, LOL!

    Yes, we're usually in AZ by October 1, but grandbaby is more important. We'll probably leave a week after she is born, if Grandpa can drag Granny away.