Frost on the grass is a regular sight now in the morning. I ran out and took a quick photo at dawn this morning.

Last weekend right before the hard frost hit we rushed to bring in winter squash (pumpkins, butternuts, acorn squash), and the last few summer veggies that were still in greenhouse: sweet peppers and tomatoes. Right now everything is in our cold storage area indoors, waiting to go out for our final two CSA weeks.

Frost - The Morning After

The frost did indeed come last night. This morning the field was blanketed in a layer of ice.

Spinach is hardy enough to tolerate the ice so it spent the night uncovered. Once the sun melts the ice off later today these little plants will bounce back.

Below is a stray zucchini plant that slipped out of its row cover and got hit by the frost. Unfortunately, zucchini is much more fragile than spinach so this plant is a goner.

Happily, the rest of the zucchini plants were tucked under their cozy row cover and made it safely through the icy night.

The weather forecast is predicting an end to this late May chill today, and the morning has already been warming up nicely. The row covers will come off this afternoon before the plants heat up too much.

Frost Scramble

Frost Warning!

Last year I set up a frost monitoring system. I used a program called If This Then That to subscribe to the Environment Canada weather alert feed for my area and send me a text message if it sees the word "frost".

Today, it's been buzzing me all day as the forecast has steadily gotten colder, pushing into frost warning territory. So instead of working down my task list I ended up on frost protection duty and now the garden is a sea of white row cover:

The whole event was a bit of a gong show due to the high winds that are bringing in this cold. Row cover fabric is beautifully light, which is all well and good when it's rolled up, but a bit of a problem when you suddenly find yourself holding a 1000 square foot sail in the wind. I'm sure a time lapse video of me running around with everything flapping would have been pretty funny.

This year I splurged on a box of special "row bags" - basically sandbags with handles (that you fill yourself), but they went quickly. Pretty much everything heavy that was lying around ended up pressed into service to hold the cover in place - big rocks, extra fence posts, trellis posts, logs, etc. 

Row cover is a pretty amazing material. It lets in most of the light during the day and lets water pass through. Underneath, plants are protected from wind and insects, and it acts like a blanket overnight, holding in the warmth from the ground (to the tune of about 3 degrees - just enough for a light frost).

Scrambling around protecting things has added to my backlog of tasks to catch up on but I'll sleep better tonight knowing I've done what I can to protect the vulnerable plants. Even so, I'll be out there bright and early tomorrow to see how everything did overnight.