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First frost misses

Sampling the frost

Frost finally hit the garden…but it missed the veggies! Just after sunrise this morning, there was ice on the grass at the very bottom of the field, but it stopped maybe 10′ feet from where the garden begins. Pretty cool. There’s a gentle slope from a high point about two-thirds of the way up the garden, and cold air flowed downhill and pooled at the very bottom of the field. Fun with science: when there’s no wind to mix things up, cold air rolls with gravity along the ground!

Frost on grass



  1. Good planning on your part! I’m still waiting for the tomatoes to be killed off but not yet. I think this is the latest I’ve ever seen frost in Ottawa (keeping in mind I’ve only lived in the area for 5 years).

  2. justin jones

    do you need to trim back jalopenos after the frost killed them i dont know what to do i also have bell peppers that got killed off what should i do

  3. justin: Peppers are perennials that we grow as annuals, at least, where there’s a cold winter that kills them off, so it’s one season only, and then start again from seed. Once the plants are dead by frost, you can pull them up and remove them (for example, compost them), or mow them down and till them in. You could try transplanting them into pots and taking indoors, but probably more trouble than it’s worth.

    There seem to be two general opinions about cleaning up your veggie garden in the fall. Some say remove everything, all dead plant residue. Others favor only removing diseased plants, and tilling in the rest. The main thing is not to leave lots of plant residue on the surface, where disease can survive, and the cover serves as a habitat for bugs and rodents. Whether removed or tilled in, the garden should be clear, or sown with a cover crop. I’ve done all three, removed everything, tilled things in, and seeded with a cover crop (oats, fall rye), and they all seem to work fine. Just remove any diseased plants (you should do that as soon as you discover ’em).

    If you have a lot of fruit still on the dead plants, and you till in the residue, you’ll be leaving a lot of seed, and the next season, you may have pepper plants coming up as weeds. I’ve never had this problem with peppers, but sometimes I’ve tilled in quite a bit of tomato, and get tomato plants popping up the next year and have to weed them.

    Hope that helps!

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