Saturday night/Sunday morning we received our first real frost. Above, you see heavy frost on some straw-mulched beds as the sun rises. We knew we were due when the clouds cleared early Saturday night, leaving the moon beaming down in a perfectly still evening with our thermometer in the upper 30s by midnight. We covered what we could, and Joanna went out several times during the night to check on things and to spray sensitive crops like beans and tomatoes with water (this actually helps them survive some frost, a trick also used by orchardists).
It seems that we didn’t have any losses to this frost, somewhat surprisingly. We expected the Fin de Bagnol green beans to be killed or damaged, since we hadn’t covered them and they certainly had ice on them at dawn, but it seems that Joanna’s 5am spraying saved them. We had our tomatoes & peppers covered, and though the bed sheets protecting them were frozen this morning, the plants looked okay at dawn. Most other items are frost-tolerant (greens, beets, turnips, etc.) or tall enough to be above frost (okra, dent corn).
Still, this does mark a turning point in the season. We’ve already been working to put beds to sleep for the winter with cover crop and/or mulch, and this serves as a good reminder that those projects need to keep moving. We still have weeks of greens and root vegetables to bring to market, and plan to start with the dried corn and soup beans next week, along with sweet potatoes.