Was it worth it?

The last of the dahlias…

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!


About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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9 Responses to Was it worth it?

  1. Your dahlias are beautiful. I’m in southwest Michigan and we’ve had light frosts but not a killing frost yet. I know Lake Michigan helps but it’s still interesting how the temps are a bit cooler where you are.


  2. Over Soil says:

    Samhain is on it’s way here, with the end of the harvests and time to reflect.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anything to keep the flowers blooming 🌸

    Liked by 1 person

  4. maybeillbecomeafarmer says:

    Beautiful dahlias! We’ve had light frosts but not a killing frost here in Southwest Michigan. It must be Lake Michigan helping out.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Going Batty in Wales says:

    As far as I know I haven’t had a frost yet though someone a few miles away reported one. The tomatoes in my greenhouses are still producing and if previous year are anything to go by will continue to do so until well into November. I tend to keep anything tender in there if I want them to keep going. There are plenty of cold tolerant things outside for when the houses are reduced to winter salads and.


    • carolee says:

      My greenhouse needs SO much work to be very useful. All the bubble wrap insulation has fallen down, and some of it is breaking apart. Not looking forward to having to clear the basement to return plants there for winter, or to making the greenhouse usable. Today it’s raining, so that’s my excuse for not doing anything…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Peg says:

    Glad you were able to save so much! We are looking at a week of below freezing temps coming up, so I am so glad my garden is already pulled up.


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