Someone asked me if I really thought going to the trouble of covering “tender” crops before a frost was worth the effort. I reported in an earlier post that our first frost occurred on October 5, but that it was very light. That report was written the same day as that early morning frost, and it wasn’t until a day or two later that the actual damage was totally apparent. It wasn’t quite as “light” as I’d thought! The last planting of beans, which wasn’t covered was totally ruined, which tells me that the three more mature plantings that were covered would probably have been lost as well if the effort hadn’t been made. Two of those, the beautiful “Velour” French fillet beans and the “French Horticultural” beans yielded nearly another 5 lbs. after that initial frost.
Tomatoes in general were all damaged, except the “Juliet” grape and “Sun Sugar” tomatoes that were covered. They provided another 10.25 and 2.25 pounds respectively.
Two more small eggplants were saved, and well as few “Apple” peppers, bringing the total “saved by the covering” harvest to just over 20 pounds. I feel that was worth the effort. Plus, throwing a sheet over the fence where the bulk of the dahlias were planted meant I’ve had fresh bouquets since October 5th that I would not have had. I feel the effort was definitely repaid.
On the morn of October 16th, our temps dropped to 26 degrees F, definitely a killing frost that turned most of the gardens brown. A few things were still covered, mainly the “Strike” beans that were just setting baby beans and filled with blooms, some newly emerging spinach and lettuces that I’d like to get more established before bad weather comes, and some gorgeous “Tom Thumb” and “Salad Bowl” lettuces. Everything else was left to its fate, but I haven’t been ready to face the devastation, so I haven’t peeked under the covers. Whatever the results, there’s still lots of cold-hardy good eating out there even if the covering was not sufficient for such a drop in temperature. Hopefully this week, I’ll get those berry box/coldframe covers built, and the sheets can go back in the linen closet!