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

Preparing for an early frost

how to prepare for a frost

The first frost scramble was in full swing yesterday as we were busy bringing in some of the last few bits of harvest that will need to finish growing up inside.

Putting a quick hoop over a few of the late tomato plants is a new experiment for us. Stay tuned to see if it works in squeezing out yet another basket of yumminess.

It was a good summer for our dwarf Meyer lemon tree. Bringing her in is starting to feel like a substantial end of summer ritual for us.

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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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I began the great frost battle a few weeks ago up here. I had a bunch of paste tomatoes that were not ripe yet. I cut the plants off at the ground and bring them in the house to ripen. I brought them in about two weeks ago. I should be canning about 20-25 pounds tomorrow.

Comment by Justin Sat Oct 1 19:16:19 2011

Your lemon tree looks amazing! I bought a Meyer lemon tree dreaming of delicious lemons and instead have a full blown case of scale. Dang it! I have used organic oils, sprays, wiped each and every limb/ trunk/ leaf, but to no avail. I think I'm going to lose it :(. I even called both a local nursery with a real good "tree" guy and called the mail order nursery where I purchased the tree, followed all the suggestions and nothing worked. I'm so sad. And I’m pretty desperate. Do you guys have any suggestions? Thanks

Comment by Elizabeth Sat Oct 1 23:30:09 2011

Justin --- I've always read about that method of ripening up the last of the year's tomatoes --- good to hear it works! Someday I'll probably try it, if only to compare the results to just picking all of the slightly colored tomatoes (which is what I usually do.)

Elizabeth --- Indoor plants are awfully prone to infestations like that, unfortunately. If you live further south than we do and don't have a frost looming, I would put your plants outside ASAP. I've discovered that natural predators make short work of potted plant insect infestations if they get a chance. I had white flies on our citrus this spring, but it seemed like within days of putting the plants outside, lady bugs ate them all up.

Comment by anna Sun Oct 2 13:34:27 2011

We live in NW Montana and though the temps at night have been hovering around freezing, the daytime temps soar into the 70'S- 80's so I've been putting it out during the day and bringing it in at night. So far no improvement. Waaah! I really was excited about this tree. So many people have such great things to say about it. I'm really disappointed. I'm also worried that if I can't figure out how to combat indoor infestations, I might not ever have a chance at having our own home grown citrus. I guess I just need to keep trying! Surely, I’ll figure out the secret one of these days! I just hope we can have as nice a tree as your pictures! Thanks.

Comment by Elizabeth Thu Oct 6 01:48:19 2011
Elizabeth --- Don't give up on dwarf citrus even if this year is a disaster! It might just be too late in the season for good bugs to be out and about, especially if you're already getting freezing nights. If your tree does succumb, I'd wait a few months (so the bad bugs die out) and then try again, this time being sure to put the plants outside for the summer. Our Meyer lemon is beautiful, in my opinion, but it barely holds a candle to my neighbor's --- done right, the variety is an awesome and productive house plant!
Comment by anna Thu Oct 6 14:56:29 2011

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