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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Which Veggies can handle a Light Frost

I don’t think I have a complete answer to this question, but we had a light frost last night and I can now report what did and didn’t survive.

Reportedly, the low last night was 37. I didn’t figure this to be a frost, but there was a frost advisory out, so I should have listened. Anyhow, I didn’t protect any of my plants. Not much I could have done anyway. I went out first thing in the morning and there was a very light frost on all of the plants, but no noticeable damage to any of them.

I came out later after it had warmed up and this is what I found:

The damage is quite clear. The top leaves are dropping and a dark brown color. The second level and lower leaves are still green and healthy looking. I can also report that the individual bean pods survived just fine.
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The tomatoes suffered similar to the beans. The highest leaves were black and drooping and the lowest leaves were still nice and green.
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The actual fruit suffered no damage.
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Same story here. We went ahead and harvested these.
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Same exact story again. You can see the blackish leaves in these pictures and you can see that the fruit itself is a-ok.2012 10 28_8099
More pictures of the injured peppers
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The gourd vines died. So I assume this would be true for any squash family plant. The dark colored leaves you see are all the gourd vine, but you can see a birdhouse gourd and a luffa gourd hanging from the trellis having survived the frost.
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All of the typical fall crops came through without missing a beat; they show no damage whatsoever. This includes: broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, collards, 6” garlic that just sprouted, turnips, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach.

A few things also came away without harm that I was a little surprised at: a celery seedling (what under tulle), a celery plant (growing under the tomatoes), all of my herbs – none suffered at all. The artichoke also show no damage.

I know that not many of you are shocked that a frost could do this to the summer plants. But this is just to show – those of us who are new to this – just what the damage looks like at a temperature of 37. Even with the damage, I decided not to pull anything other than the basil. I wanted the basil, so I saved what was left of it. I know I won’t get much of anything from what was damaged, but warmer weather is just around the corner and I want to see if any of the plants bounce back and actually ripen some of the undamaged fruit. I guess you can call it an experiment….after all, I have nothing to lose.

1 comment:

  1. We don't get frost where I am so its really interesting to see how dramatically it affects crops. My parents place does get frost but its pretty predictable when and its always after the summer crops have finished anyway. They grow heaps of herbs which generally survive frost and even the occasional bit of snow pretty well - the exception of course being basil but you knew that anyway.