Winter walked through my garden leaving a white coating that turned to black in the morning sun. The summer garden ended. The fall garden remains – for now.
Killing frost is rarely a surprise. Average dates are given for my Ozark area about October 17. The days are warm. The nights cool to cold.
Already the peppers are harvested. These summer plants like hot days and warm nights. Fall temperatures leave the peppers hanging on slowly ripening. They will ripen as fast in the pantry.
Tomatoes are another summer crop loving hot days and warm nights. Green tomatoes will hang on the vines waiting for the temperatures to go up. In the pantry they will turn red. The flavor isn’t as good as summer sun ripened ones, but not bad.
Squash plants too are summer crops. By fall the squash bugs are killing the vines starting with the summer varieties and moving to the winter varieties. The winter squashes are putting on their thick rinds.
My pantry was filled with sacks of peppers, tomatoes and squash.
Frost can form pretty patterns and edgings on plants. It freezes the water inside the summer plants destroying their cells and killing them.
The morning after killing frost is so depressing. The tomatoes were towering over my head with vines heavy with fruit. Now the vines are limp and dark.
In the beds nearby the fall garden is still green. Cabbage, broccoli, turnips and garlic hang their leaves in the frost.
Once the frost melts, the leaves stand up still fresh and green. All but the garlic will slowly produce their crops in the warm days of Indian summer.
Another fall garden crop is chickweed. This sprouts in the fall growing green and lush with the cool temperatures and moisture. It like the garlic will overwinter.
By November most of the fall crops will succumb to winter’s cold blasts. Until then, they are a welcome bit of green in the garden.