October 21, 2010 at 8:22 a.m.

A killing frost is not all bad

A killing frost is not all bad
A killing frost is not all bad

My dad used to say that if we could get by without frost during the September full moon, or harvest moon, we could have frost-free weather for another month. Well, we got through the September full moon without a killing frost but within a week, we were not so lucky. I realize that because I live on Highway 95 along the St. Croix River, I get frost earlier than most of our readers. But, it is interesting how different crops react to frost.

Apples can handle a hard frost if it doesn't last too long or if they are not on the ground. In fact, some varieties of apples actually sweeten up as long as you don't handle them while the frost is on them. Apples are stored at about twenty-eight degrees for long periods of time with no ill effects.

Buttercup, acorn, and Hubbard squash can handle a pretty hard freeze, but butternut squash with their thin skin needs to be protected. Pumpkins can take a hard freeze as long as it doesn't get too cold or rainy.

Cole crops such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cabbage can take a lot of cold weather. We never pick brussel sprouts until they have gone through a couple of hard freezes. They are like apples in that a hard freeze sweetens them. I know several gardeners that are picking brussel sprouts well into November.

This was an interesting year for fall raspberries. They started producing at least two weeks earlier than other years, with above average heat and moisture. I have heritage everbearing and since they are a drier berry they are more prone to sunscald. So with the heat and continuing rain, picking berries was more difficult. It still was a good year for berries, but with the killing frost the berry season is also over.

Most gardeners have picked their potatoes and onions. It depended on the variety and when they ripened. Beets and carrots can handle a lot of cold weather. My dad didn't want them dug until the last minute so they would store longer in the root cellar. More than once while I was digging the beets and carrots the wind was blowing and there was snow in the air.

Most flower gardeners dig their glads, dahlias, and canna bulbs after a killing frost. Don't forget that cannas must be treated differently, since the stalks are so thick they must dry off before being dug.


Comments:

Commenting has been disabled for this item.

Events

April

SU
MO
TU
WE
TH
FR
SA
31
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
28
29
30
1
2
3
4
SUN
MON
TUE
WED
THU
FRI
SAT

To Submit an Event Sign in first

Today's Events

No calendar events have been scheduled for today.

Events

April

SU
MO
TU
WE
TH
FR
SA
31
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
28
29
30
1
2
3
4
SUN
MON
TUE
WED
THU
FRI
SAT

To Submit an Event Sign in first

Today's Events

No calendar events have been scheduled for today.