First frost of 2011

NHBabs(4b-5aNH)October 6, 2011

Last night much of NH was predicted to have its first frost, so I spent about 1 1/2 hours after work bringing in eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, and basil. I used some for supper last evening and will spend today making pesto and garden stew for the freezer, which I know I will truly appreciate in the dead of winter.

I brought in a few of my smaller pots of tender perennials like begonias and coleus, and the larger pots were clustered under the eaves and covered with sheets. As the temperatures rise, I'll see how the covered pots weathered the cold temperatures. I always discover a few things that I forgot as I scurried around in the half-dark, so I'll also see what has turned to mush. Earlier in the week I noticed that my Amsonia hubrichtii was just starting to get a slight gold cast, but I fear that now it will once again have lost its foliage without turning that lovely clear golden color. Perhaps I should move it to a spot near a sunny stone wall or foundation in the hopes of keeping it warmer for long enough to enjoy one of this plant's best features. We are due for one more cold night and then a weekend warm-up, so I'll probably deal with the rest of the pots over the weekend, storing some tubers and taking cuttings.

Who else has had frost? Like last year, this is a relatively late first frost for us since the recent tropical rains have kept recent nights in the 50's here.

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franeli(z4 NH)

Big freeze here, but, most of my garden was kaput anyway.
It was in the low 30's about 2-3 weeks ago and then, like you said, nothing but tropical rain (along with a huge population of mosquitoes).

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 10:41AM
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No frost here, not really even that close - yet. I brought in my squash last night, just in case; 6 big Waltham butternuts. I left one or 2 on the vine, as a show of optimism.

I'm WILDLY impressed, NHB, that you still have basil. Mine went by in July, I think, due to the incredible heat. Did you do a second planting, or did yours just not go to seed early? Thnx - DtD

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 1:59PM
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Oooh, thanks for reminding me, Franeli, that the frost means no more mosquitos! They have been fierce here as well. I always put out some of the Bt mosquito dunks in the spring to keep the population of mosquitoes to an almost bearable level, but their bacteria must have given up the ghost during this last bit of tropical weather, so we have been overwhelmed with mosquitoes for about three weeks.

DtD - I still had basil because this year has been the worst garden I've ever had, and the basil didn't get big enough before late August to even start harvesting due to a cold start, woodchucks eating much of it down to nubs several times, followed by Japanese beetles. I don't think it was big enough to put much energy into seeds. I will only have about 5 meals worth of pesto in the freezer out of 8 plants. Likewise, my broccoli is in a race with winter to produce heads after only now getting to be just a foot tall (woodchucks again), the tomatoes were disease-ridden except the volunteers in the compost pile, and the onions were tiny. I do have lots of eggplant, peppers, leeks and garlic, and some potatoes, but this really wasn't a productive garden year. My season really isn't long enough to do second plantings of anything except a few cold weather crops.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 7:18AM
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terrene(5b MA)

The mosquitoes have been really bad here too, especially so since ts Irene. I'm very thankful for the rain, but it has its drawbacks.

We didn't have a frost last night, it got down to about 38 F, which was higher than they were predicting. My annuals didn't get zapped and I can continue to enjoy their beauty. Did some deadheading (and seed-collecting) this morning to spruce them up.

Nice stretch of weather coming up. 80s in October. Sweet!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 10:45AM
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asarum(z6 Boston)

my basil tries to flower and go to seed from fairly early in the season so I just keep deadheading.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 12:25PM
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Some of my coleus got nipped last night but all else looks pretty good. I had the tropicals in the garage.

I actually don't like 80's in October. I prefer that crisp cool 60's feeling and I get a lot more done when its cool. I have a lot of things in mind to do this weekend, but probably won't get to them if its hot.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 4:15PM
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molie(z6 CT)

Nothing yet here along the CT coast. With the preparation for Irene and clean up afterwards, all of my early fall garden plans were lost, like rebuilding an arbor and transplanting some clematis.

My basil is done and the annuals are languishing. We should have a very warm next few days. I agree hot weather in October is lousy. Who wants summer now when there should be cool breezes and a crisp smell to the fall air???

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 5:51AM
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Not even the slightest hint of frost around here, and nothing predicted any time soon. We haven't even dipped into the 30's at all. We're leaving for a weeks vacation on the cape in a few days - so I have put it high on my priority list to clean up the 3 season porch and get all my patio pots put onto the porch. I doubt my frost free luck will hold while we are on vacation.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 8:53AM
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cloud_9(z5 CT)

Possible frost last week - brought in some stuff, covered others.

...and now the mosquitoes are back!!!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 9:29AM
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We went swimming today! This is the latest we've done that, as far as I remember. Still have lots of things to plant - mainly bulbs but a few divisions and seedlings that have been waiting for a new cleared area to be ready. I'd better get busy, this can't possibly last much longer.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 8:53PM
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I was west of Boston for 5 days but asked my husband to pick all the peppers and put the fabric tunnel over the green and yellow beans that were planted late and had just started producing. A light frost hit the Thai Red Noodle beans and pepper plants but I still found a small bucket full of peppers he had missed. For shame, I was too busy in recent weeks and it was too rainy so I probably lost half a dozen nice red bell peppers that over-ripened. Pepper plants along the south side of the house are still fine. Basil on the granite porch step is ok or I should say not much worse than before I left (old and woody).

Nasturtiums in hanging baskets are still ok.

My winter squash crop was a disaster. Only a few squashes survived beetle attacks and then I found several squashes had been badly gnawed by a small animal. There was a deep hole dug in the corner of the patch, either dog or coyote, so I suspect something was after a small furry squash gnawing critter and I hope it got him.

Recently the tomato thieving chipmunk was in the top of a 6' viburnum eating the berries. I didn't realize they could climb as well as squirrels. Grrrr.

A drainage problem in late winter undermined steps in my narrow part-shade garden. While I was away my husband had to dig up some plants to install a drain pipe. He knew to save a hosta but has no memory of the bleeding heart and sweet woodruff that was also in the area of what is now fresh turned dirt.

Now the question is whether I can get some daffodils etc in the ground before it freezes and do some perennial transplanting before this weird weather turns dismally cold. I hate November.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 3:31PM
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