The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Killing frost

Head of broccoli

Frost on poke berriesFor the last few years, our first frost of the year was a killing frost, but this year we got a bit of a reprieve.  Even though our first frost came right on schedule in the middle of October, we didn't have a killing frost until November 6.

In case you're scratching your head in puzzlement, a killing frost is generally considered to be a frost with temperatures at or below 25 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lighter frosts will kill your summer-loving plants like tomatoes and okra, but fall crops shrug these baby frosts off and keep right on growing.  A killing frost, though, tends to take out all but the Frost on the hayfieldmost hardy garden plants --- the few uncovered lettuce plants were mildly nipped by our recent frost and the broccoli was slightly damaged, but mustard and kale were still green and happy the next morning.

The first killing frost also tends to knock the last of the autumn color out of the trees, so now only a few oak leaves cling to the branches.  Our hills suddenly seem much lower when you can see through the trees.

Our homemade chicken waterer is always POOP-free.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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We recently moved cross country to the Pacific Northwest...I'm still waiting for our first frost! I'm taking notes about this years weather so I can plan better for next years garden...but man I should have put in more of a fall garden!
Comment by Fostermamas Thu Nov 11 13:45:56 2010
Eliza --- Congratulations on your move! From my understanding, that's a completely different gardening climate, and one where you should milk the fall and spring gardens for all they're worth. I believe it's hard to grow tomatoes, but on the flip side you can count on fresh vegetables from your garden nearly all year if you play your cards right.
Comment by anna Thu Nov 11 15:21:36 2010

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