Last Days of September

digit(ID/WA)September 27, 2013

No one is posting on their first frost or have I missed something?

3 AM and I'm frozen in front of the desktop screen, checking nearby locations for frost. Wandering back into the living room to look at what Accuweather has to say . . .

We have skidded, in a near uncontrolled way. The days of record-high temperatures in the 90's just 2 weeks ago, seem distant. It didn't make it to 60f on the 25th. The WS tells us that it is the first day with such a cool afternoon since June 21st. Honestly, that tells you more about our Junes than late September here.

This morning, the thermometer will drop to 34f, we are told. However yesterday, there was ice on the top of my pickup! Just a light frost at 7:45am! No ice on the lawn. And . . . no frost damage in the gardens!

I will soon be in one garden with a hand on the sprinkler valve and just hope for the best everywhere. Did NOT pick all the green tomatoes but got some things that would go down to the frost yesterday afternoon. Dahlias are hanging out there but "usually" that garden & the little veggie garden beside it, are fairly well protected. Only once in the dozen+ years I've been there, has it frosted there and not the more exposed big veggie garden(s).

I'm "nearly" resigned. No WS prediction of any warmth anytime soon so the gardens will just go into a holding pattern whether frost kills the frost-sensitive plants, or not.


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We had our first heavy frost 6 days ago that wiped out all the frost sensitive plants except the tomatoes we planted in the greenhouse where we could provide some heat. We let the tomatoes go when snow and below freezing temps was predicted for several days. This is the earliest that we've lost the garden is quite a few years.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 7:04AM
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No frost.

I stayed around until 7:30 and it was obvious that the lovely clouds would save the day . . . windy now.

At your high elevation, mla2ofus, that was an "early" frost? I'm glad you and I both have a greenhouse and woke up this morning thinking I'd better get my try at hybridizing tomatoes in there! No need! But, those green Kimberley fruits will require quite a few more weeks. I've got the plant in a pot for just this reason.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 2:20PM
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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

We are under an advisory for tonight and tomorrow night. It got down to 35 a couple of nights without any advisory. So I gathered all the green babies, put them in a box and tucked them in a closet. The pepper plants will come in tonight. That time of year.

Looks like the low valleys of the Platte and the Palmer Divide. Lucky us!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 2:41PM
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I am embarrassed to admit this but it really didn't hurt my feelings when it did frost. We over planted the garden so much and I was overwhelmed trying to can and freeze so much...all at once! We gave lots away but the garden will be down-sized next year.
It seems the norm here for us to get below freezing, snow, and hail for 7 to 10 days and then it will clear off and be warm and beautiful for 4 to 6 weeks before the actual winter weather sets in. That gives me a chance to get caught up on all the things that still need to be done before winter sets in.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 5:07PM
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david52 Zone 6

We got hit last night - down to 28úF. And it didn't hurt my feelings too much either. I've got a greenhouse full of green tomatoes and a bushel of peppers that need work.

On the down side, I'm waiting on the guy to come resurrect my propane furnace after 12 years of collecting dust, but I'm not that high on his priority list and he is particularly hard to get ahold of. This is brought on by replacing the 50 year old wood stove that finally gave up the ghost. The replacement stove is here, in town, weighs 450 lbs, and won't be installed until Oct 24, what with the installer booked solid until then.

So its a nippy 55 inside....

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 11:52AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

We had frost Friday night as well! I believe it only got down to 31 degrees here, but the frost was covering everything except the protected areas right against the house. So the grapes made it through just fine, as did most of the peppers plants. The tops of the tomatoes were hit, but the lower parts of the plant were fine. It was the end of the line for things like cucumbers, and zucchini. I frantically picked as much as I could in a chilly 43 degree drizzle Friday evening. About the time I gave up because my hands were going numb and it was started to get dark, a fast moving cell came through, dropping pea sized hail.

Saturday morning we headed over to El Jebel for a soccer game and passed Mount Sopris on the way.

When I passed by that way a week ago, there was no snow there at all.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 12:12AM
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We have the thermostat turned up but I'm not sure if the furnace ran once this afternoon. Outdoors, there was constant wind, never got above the low 50's and there has been rain the last 3 or 4 hours.

I'm not looking forward to returning to the garden if the weather continues the way it has been this weekend! (Here at home, I'm saving tomato seeds and have had a nice big pot of sauce cooking on the stove for hours, :o) I hope your propane guy comes soon, David.

A very impressive mountain and a very pretty picture, Bonnie! Thank you for sharing!


This post was edited by digit on Mon, Sep 30, 13 at 0:55

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 12:53AM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

I didn't have time to post, but I checked your weather up there (Hauser!) this morning, Digit, and it looked like you were right on the edge of a flood watch area. Was hoping it wouldn't get TOO bad for you up there--at least nothing like the thousand-year floods we had down here two weeks ago!!! Boy, Seattle sure is getting dumped on! Jennifer/JCLepine lives up in that area now, and I wonder how she's doing!

Are you expecting anything very bad in your immediate area? Hard to tell much on radar up there with all the mountains "in the way!"

No frost at all down here in the lowlands yet--at least not right here by me! Got down to 36 one nite a couple nites ago. We had rain first so everything was wet so I took a chance that even if it did get down to 32 I'd be ok. One local channel is predicting down to freezing the end of the week, another channel is minimizing it and making that sound unlikely! As of right now NOAA is predicting 31 for Friday nite! Will wait till later in the week to see what develops, but I'm not ready to throw in the towel yet at this point, so will be out there with the sheets and blankets if it sounds like that really could happen. Might cut a couple of the tomatoes and hang them in the garage, but will leave most of them out there if it looks like it'll just be a nite or two. This is the best tomato year I've ever had at this house, and I just don't want it to end!

Bonnie, three weeks ago I was at Crawford on the other side of McClure and was planning to drive over the pass--to the "back side" of Sopris--to check out Penney Hot Springs, but it was rainy all three nites/days I was there and I decided to skip it and try again another time--maybe next spring. That sure is a pretty mountain--and you got a great pic of it! (Did manage, for the first time ever, to get to the north side of the Black Canyon--and the rain held off while I was there!)

I love it out in the mountains, and envy you guys that live in them!


    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 1:29AM
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xaroline(zone 3 Calgary)

Taking Geraniums in, but they are untouched by frost still.
Outside of the city there has been frost, and in low lying areas. So far we made it through September 2013 without frost in Calgary.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 8:29AM
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See, isn't that interesting how you go up to find frost and down to find frost! We know that cold air sinks but - it is still interesting! I know a family who live on the northside of a little hill in the valley. Their backyard is right in a very slight depression. You could put cold storage there!

No local air having much of a chance to do anything but rush on thru on its way to Montana! The WS predicted that the winds aloft, I don't remember the elevation, would be at record levels. Not sure if that happened but sure glad I wasn't carried aloft these last few days!

Fast moving wind out of the Pacific has meant somewhat warmer temperatures and the rain locally has amounted to nearly an inch over the last 72 hours. Tacoma flooding in what 1 local reporter called "Hollywood" rains! Not quite sure what he meant . . .

I live on a little higher area and frost shows up a little sooner than at the airports. The gardens are in somewhat of "tricky" locations, too. The prediction of 38o & 39o on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings has me a little concerned. I won't be at all surprised to find frost on rooftops here at home and will trust that it doesn't burn the flowers off the dahlia plants, etc. etc! They are delicate, of course, but most are also over 6' tall and, whereas, nothing may be damaged down on the soil surface, there are few things more depressing than the sight of tall plants with a big glob of black sticking up in a garden that fills an entire backyard! I gotta keep the tenants there happy with the scenery, if nothing else!

Sweet corn season has come to an end but only partly because of the cold. Those darn bush beans that I planted after the peas came out probably have another bucket of pods on them! Every year! Every year - I'm sitting out there in a heavy coat shivering as I harvest the last of those things!

Likely, everything has slowed to a crawl in the gardens but, ya know, I hate going out there in this continuing mess!


    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 9:18AM
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We have been having nasty weather. Wind, rain, hail. sleet, snow, and just enough frost to wipe out the vegetable garden . Did I mention wind? Wow! It's been raining since the storm hit us a few days ago. I'm still waiting for our normal Indian Summer. I've still got a lot to do to get the outside ready for winter.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 10:14AM
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david52 Zone 6

In this part of the country, you travel 'down' for frost. The countryside is a series of gentle 'upland' hills with draws in between, and the cold air comes up the draw.

So if I'm driving to town, I start of frost free, then hit the first draw, frost, then up and out, no frost, then continue a slow decline in altitude until the next draw, frost, up and out with no frost, and when I get to town, 500 feet lower and 5 miles away, its pretty much all frost.

Of course, if you want to go waaaay up high, like 10,000 feet, you'll find frost.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 3:20PM
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The time that one of my gardens was damaged by frost in August, it was waaay down - down river and in one of the lowest places around.

Several years ago, the cold must have dropped off a nearby hillside and zapped the dahlia garden. Meanwhile, the terribly exposed big veggie garden had no frost. They often go together but that was the first time that protected location went first!

Gets to the point, however, where the warmer weather just doesn't show up or when there is only 3 or 4 days of it.

Also, the hours of darkness are what they are. So, the 24 hour temperature swings can get pretty wild. Daytime shadows are also long now and soon sunlight will be weak since it is coming from too close to the horizon.

The plants won't respond to a little extra warmth. Ripening, maturing - often, is about all that can be hoped for. It is what I'm doing with my feet up, a fresh cup of hot coffee at hand, and 48mph wind gusts outdoors . . .


This post was edited by digit on Mon, Sep 30, 13 at 16:22

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 4:20PM
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We got hit last Wednesday, Friday, Sunday . Every thing has been harvested except a few apples. Over the past 3 days have dried a box of pears. Will freeze most of the apples and dry most of the box of plums that survived. Lots of rain for a change which is good for the trees as it has been so dry . Froze a bunch of summer squash to add to stir fry and soup. Have given away a lot of tomatoes , peppers,cukes and pears. Still have a bunch to do something with DH doesn't eat cooked tomatoes or peppers. Made jal jelly an apple pie jam. Cooked up a bunch of, pears and apples to make butter with. Trying to survive a cold and a bad flare up of arthritis .

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 11:39PM
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gjcore(zone 5 Aurora Co)

We have already had a minor frost here about a week ago. Forecast calls for freezing weather Friday night so I'm sure that will take care of all the tender crops unless I get really motivated with covering and adding some heat which probably isn't going to happen.

Been busy trying to harvest, cook up and give away what I can. Still been putting seed in the ground today - beets, winter lettuce, hairy vetch...

Need to get motivated and get things ready for the coldframes just seems I've been busy with other things. Also need to make more rosemary cuttings for the spring sale while they're still actively growing. And then there's drying herbs which is another thing that I'm behind on.

Getting ready to make a good size compost pile for the winter. I got rid of my pallet bins this summer so it's going to be an open pile where the corn grew this year.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 7:43PM
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popmama Zone 5(5)

The news says to expect cold temps in Denver area Thursday night with rain turning to snow and likelihood of hard frost Saturday morning.

Tonight I brought in many of my outdoor plants to their Winter home. Years ago I got plexiglass window well covers. I store most of my outdoor plants in the window wells that act almost like a greenhouse in the Winter.

I'm leaving the cannas outside so they can take their hard frost and then they will be cut down and housed in the garage over the winter.

I'll just wait to see what happens to everything else outside. I guess Summer is really over.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 11:07PM
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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

And another growing season comes to an end. What a weird year! Always an adventure in the Rocky Mountain West. When things get cleaned up, then the pursuit of new options and decisions about old favorites will begin. Not a great year, but compared to some in the recent past, I'm quite pleased.

Bundle up, stay warm and let's start musing about the 2014 gardens that await us.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 12:22AM
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I can muse but there is a certain amount of grump in it right now.

Mostly, I'm tired. I lost my usual 15# thru the growing season. This was after down-sizing the gardens in 2012 and losing only 7#. I wanna tell ya I had a dickens of a time avoiding the 15# winter gain after that!

So, I've worked hard (enuf) and the weather was good (enuf) for a good (enuf) gardening season. There is another light frost outside right now. It is just like on the 26th, the difference: that was at 7:30, this is at 4:30am. Three hours of light frost this time or will the temperature drop further?

I may have made a mistake. Frost isn't predicted until tomorrow morning and my plan is to spend the day bringing in green tomatoes, protecting the pumpkins that I can't fit in the back of the pickup, and cutting some dahlias.

It is okay. There are many, many pumpkins this year but they can take a light frost. My plan is just to move the pumpkins to the center of the patch, pull the vines and cover them with the vines. Every tomato that had so much as a blush has been taken out of the garden. You may remember that I"m not a real fan of green tomatoes. At this point in time, they will just be "food." I'm not likely to eat any of them "fresh." from here on out. HOWever . . . there are so many nice-sized tomatoes out there, it is a shame if I've lost them. Lot's of green cherries too but, come on!!

The dahlias I will have a use for on Saturday. Problem is, we ain't to Saturday . . . They would hold well in the garage and quite a few are open and lovely. Always -- the dahlia season is on FULL just as the weather cools!

The Weather Service is giving me this tiny thread of hope. Not for warm weather but for above freezing for about 1 more week - remarkable! If I can get the dahlias thru tomorrow morning with sprinklers running for several hours and can collect everything today with zero frost damage. I could be right back here fretting about frost in 7 days . . ! Nah. By then I'll be thinking that I'm living thru some kind of fantasy! But then again, a growing season for me is always some kind of fantasy . . .


    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 8:28AM
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The sun is shining and it is 23 degrees. I'm still waiting for our 'Indian summer'. If not then at least let the soil dry out a bit so I can get the last of my garden work done and bulbs in the ground, even if I have to wear a coat and gloves.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 10:30AM
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Ah, mla2ofus, I'm sorry.

We are having another beautiful fall day after the morning frost. Yesterday was the same and it couldn't have come soon enuf! I'd had about all the sudden bad weather that I could take!

It didn't make it to 60of and today might not either but all the sunshine and lack of wind is sure appreciated. Tomorrow might be 70o, the Weather Service says! That's it. One day.

Then, back to wind, clouds with a chance . . . it shouldn't snow . . .


    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 12:43PM
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I will just comment here on our weather. After the mid-September duststorm and the dramatic drop on temperature from early September, we have had almost perfect weather for the plants to move into dormancy. That's the way I think it is, anyway.

Hopefully, there is still enough soil moisture and getting a little more rain this week will help. The overnight temperatures have not been bad. Daytime temperatures up until, maybe, today - have not been warm but that should help the plants just slow to a stop. Even the lawn grass has slowed to probably about a half of an inch each week.

Here at home, this morning is the 5th light frost of the fall. The dahlia garden is dead from about 3', up! Here in the yard, there are several dahlias with nice blooms under the trees!

I've moved the one "mother" tomato plant that I have attempted to cross-pollinate into the greenhouse. The other 2 "dads" are still alive in the backyard!

I'll start another thread on my hybridizing efforts - just to let you know what I'm up to. I've had some fun with it but really, it could be a complete fail! Right now, I've gotta get those fruits ripe and don't feel like I can afford to turn the furnace on in the greenhouse!


    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 11:17AM
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