Sunday, July 22, 2012

Frost Dates

I can't believe I was even capable of typing the word "Frost" without it just melting and hissing and turning to steam on the computer.   Wednesday was 105 degrees, Thursday 107, Friday 104, Saturday 100.  And looks like it's going to be about the same for the next five days.

I know, I know, everyone is sick of hearing about the heat and the drought.  But since there is nothing I can do to control the weather, I have to do something, and that is complain.  And you're still here listening and rolling your eyes.

Anyhow, back to the frost dates.
According the the USDA, the first frost for our Zone (6B) is October 15th.  So that means that if I want to get in my Fall Garden, I have to do it.  Like a week ago.

Cabbage, pumpkins, acorn squash and butternut squash have a 75-90 day harvest from planting.  So technically I'm only a few days late.  I'll have to wait a few more weeks to plant the cucumbers, carrots and peas as I'm positive that the heat will kill the newly emerged seedlings as soon as they poke their green, succulent heads out of the ground into the scorching, bone-dry heat.  I'm not even sure if the squashes and cabbages will survive temperatures rivaling those on the surface of Mercury.

But I'm going to plant them anyways.  My summer garden was / is pathetic so I've got to make up for it somehow.  And hopefully we'll get some relief from the heat and maybe, dare I hope, even some rain.  I'm going to use the suggestion you guys made and mulch the heck out of them and maybe it will give the plants a fighting chance.


  1. That's the thing about gardening isn't it. The minute you give up and DON'T do anything is when you get the nicest, perfect conditions for growing.

    I'm with you. Doing it anyway. After all seeds are cheap enough.

  2. I've got little seedlings up for my fall garden but I'm worried about planting them out because it is so dry.
    And I commiserate with you on the weather. I was so excited it only got to 89 yesterday. But now we've got another 4 days forecast with 100+ and no rain in sight. We're worried that we've been jinxing it talking about rain every time we see a cloud or something moving toward us on the radar so we've stopped talking about it. If we want to mention it we're calling it "anti-sun". It hasn't helped so far ;-(


  3. That's the thing about us dyed-in-the-wool gardeners . . . we just can't give up. Plant them little seeds, Girlie. We may experience a miracle!

  4. It does seem strange that right in the middle of this blistering heat it is time to think about the fall garden. Just the thought of having to get out there in this heat and plant makes me... uhmmm... I was going to say shiver but that's definitely not what I'm doing! LOL
    We are in 7b so I'm actually right on time in planning.(hmmm should be planting)I've got to get started this week though. I'm going to toss caution to the wind and just go on and plant. Mulch as best I can and hope for the best. Good Luck for your fall garden.

  5. Zone 5A here. I've never tried a fall garden... it's just so variable here in Denver... last big snowstorm can hit in May, first one often arrives in September... of course it can also be blistering hot in both May and September too, so it's a crap shoot any way you look at it.

    But I'm kinda confused about the whole concept of fall gardens... Does this mean that your summer garden is done? I still haven't harvested the first summer squash (probably today or tomorrow) and I'm just starting to get the first green tomatoes forming!

  6. I think I'm gonna get everything going indoor in the air conditioning until I think the poor plants won't get cooked outside. Besides, some evil critter ate all my seedlings except the tomatoes and peppers this spring, so I want to give the baby plants a fighting chance to get a decent size first. It's been a rough year for gardening, hasn't it?

  7. I'm totally with you... Fall garden needed to go in like 10 days ago, at least. I went into the stores a couple days ago to see if they had any seeds left, and the shelves were totally bare. Next year, Im going to have to make sure I order seeds for spring AND fall planting. Good luck!

  8. It's so crazy to think about a fall garden in this heat but you are right, it's getting to be time! I will have to wait for a bit since any seeds don't stand a chance out there yet in the blazing sun!

  9. I didn't have much luck last year. Our first frost in Central NC is somewhere around late October to early November.

    This year I am going to go the lettuce route which can tolerate some frost anyway.

  10. Listen, with those temperatures, you have every right to whine, complain and cry out loud! Maybe Ma Nature will be kind an reduce the temps, raise the water levels and let your fall garden make up for your summer one. Geez.

  11. Tami, you're right. If I don't plant anything, it will be great weather. So I may as well plant and complain then!

    Judy, I think I may have to use the word "anti-sun" in my vocabulary today.

    Mama Pea, what a nice way to say "Stubborn and Insane". :)

    SciFi, I think I'll mulch with you, sounds like the best thing to do. If the plants die, at least I amended the soil for next spring!

    EcoCatLady, I'm not a garden expert, but here our Fall Garden is planted where other plants are finished or where there is room someplace else. With our longer growing season (well, longer compared to N.IL where I came from), you can usually get two plantings per season if you plant early enough. Technically our "summer" garden isn't finished, but that is because I planted everything really LATE. But most other area gardeners have already finished with their tomatoes, zukes and cucumbers. Blueberries & strawberries are long gone and raspberries/blackberries are finished by several weeks.

    Chipmunk, this had definitely been a "challenging" gardening year. Keep those seedlings away from the vermin!!

    Tiny, we still have seeds left as I didn't get many out this spring. Not sure if our area stores have them, but I'm sure the farm stores do.

    Erin, I think I may have to put some sort of covering over them so they don't fry in the sun.

    Russell, Lettuce sounds great but I'm still going to have to wait a while to plant or they'll just shrivel up and blow away.

    Susan, Doubtful. But it's all a learning experience, right? Right?! That's what I keep telling myself.

  12. Wow, it IS hard to think about a fall garden when it is so stinkin' hot outside! I've got some time yet so I guess I'd better get to planning.

  13. You are so right in that it's hard to think about 'frost dates' in the middle of this heatwave, but thank you for reminding us that we need to be planning ahead for fall.