Our first frost this season was a doozy and really caught me off guard! I’m glad I saw a friend who casually remarked, “Stay warm tonight.” I checked the weather forecast and just about freaked out! 22 Degrees Fahrenheit! Pretty soon I was yelling to the boys, “Quickly! Come help!” With the sun setting behind us we raced out to the garden and grabbed all the produce we could!
We draped several bed sheets over the tomatoes and peppers. The idea is to trap warmth from the earth before Jack Frost moves in. In years past, this has worked well to protect plants from a light frost. I had a feeling our efforts would be in vain, but we had to try!
By this time, it was getting quite dark. I dug up my two favorite plants from the herb garden ~ lavender and rosemary ~ and put them into buckets with dirt and compost. I hope they will live a little while in the house!
Snuggle in Together!
After tending to the garden, I turned my attention to the animals. I put plenty of fresh straw down for bedding and turned on heat lamps. On nights like this, I’m so thankful we have a sturdy barn to protect them from the weather! The dogs stay closer to the house, so I filled their igloo with straw and plugged in their heated floor. It was getting pretty cold and they were glad to snuggle in together!
The Last Dance
The next morning the garden looked like winter fairies had put sugar on all the flowers. It was so beautiful, but sad at the same time. A fellow gardener, Jill Kulanko, described it as “wearing diamonds and lace for their last dance.”
Within hours of these photos, all the plants but three (dill, onions and lemon balm) shriveled into brown ghosts of their former glory. Even flannel bed sheets were no match for our cold night temperatures. I stood in my eerie-looking garden and for a while I felt disappointed. We worked really hard, and those plants had so much more to give. Our growing season certainly is short here and I have always envied gardeners in Zone 5. But then I remembered all the tasks that need to be accomplished before the snow flies. I thought about the many projects I could work on through the winter. I realized the blessing, and balance, of living in a place where summers are short and winters are long. And I’m already dreaming about next years garden. 🙂