What Gardeners Need to Know About Tonight’s Frost Advisory

There’s a frost advisory posted on the National Weather Service for our area tonight.  The prediction is temperatures in the 30s.

What this means for gardeners at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens depends on what you’re growing.

Some crops are sensitive to a light frost and you’ll want to harvest them today or you can cover them with a sheet tonight to protect them and take the sheet off in the morning. Other crops improve in flavor when the temperatures dip and there is no need to hurry out to the gardens to get those.

Frost sensitive vegetables include bush and pole beans, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, squash, and melons. Very sensitive herbs include basil, marjoram, dill, borage and chamomile.

Vegetables that will survive a light frost are broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, cilantro, mint, thyme, oregano and rosemary. The vines of pumpkins and squash will die, but the vegetables are fine.

A light freeze is 28°–32°F, and a hard freeze is below 28°F. In our area, the first hard frost typically happens in mid-October.  I say typically because our weather earlier this month was anything but typical.

On September 1, we had a light frost touch some of the plants, particularly squashes and pumpkins. This left vines damaged and happened in the lower areas of our community gardens.

 

 

The Plus Side of Frost 

There are vegetables you want to be touched by frost. Some vegetables, like beets, carrots, and parsnips get sweeter and will keep, even when temperatures fall lower, especially if you mulch. Other vegetables and herbs that will survive a frost include: kale, cabbage, leeks, potatoes, turnips, chives, parsley, sage, garlic, onions and Brussel Sprouts. If  you’re growing these, tonight’s weather shouldn’t be a factor.

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30 lbs of Fresh Produce Brought to Food Pantry From Pitney Meadows

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 4.36.24 PM.pngI’m delighted to report that yesterday 30 pounds of tomatoes, squash, herbs, greens and carrots were donated  to the Franklin Community Center’s food pantry. It was a combination of vegetables harvested from the farm garden and the community gardens.

Thank you to all who contributed.

If any Pitney Meadows Community Gardens gardener wants to contribute, I will be in the garden Wednesday morning and can collect vegetables then.

 

Egyptian Walking Onions

Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 3.44.53 AMA Vermont community gardener shared a handful of Egyptian Walking Onions with me when I was in his garden plot recently. I added them to our community herb garden yesterday.

Do you know this plant?

The scientific name is “allium proliferum” which gives you a hint about their nature.  As the name suggests, they are prolific. Next season and for as long as we grow them, community gardeners will have these mild flavored little onions to add to meals.

Walking Onions are a top setting onion and hardy, emerging in the spring often through snow.  The leaves are a bluish-green, hollow and grow about 3 feet tall.  After the first year, a cluster of bulblets will form at the top of a leaf stalk as the summer progresses.

When the bulblets mature, they become heavy and bend the leaves to the ground where the bulblets take root. That’s how they get the name walking onion. If left to their own devices, they will “walk” across the garden.

Fortunately, they have a good flavor and are easy to keep in check by harvesting the bulblets, which can be up to an inch in diameter. They are tiny but tasty.

Thanks to all the great help in the gardens yesterday, a lot was done in preparation for the photography, art and fairy houses exhibit this Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m.

This Saturday at 2:15 the entires in the sunflower contest will be measured and a winner announced.

Hope to see you there.