November Gardening: Playing with Frost

November is here and with it comes the first frost for my garden. I live in north central Texas in USDA zone 7b with an average first frost around November 10.

But I always flirt with danger, hoping to extend my garden season for a few warm season plants. With the impending doom lurking with the first freeze, I will be spending my weekend preserving what I can for the winter.

What’s thriving in my garden at the moment:

 

Fall okra. No kidding. I planted okra at least a year ago, but it’s just now coming up. [soon to be killed by frost]

Cucumbers … another one waiting to be bitten by the frost… Maybe I can make a makeshift vertical row cover… I had bad luck with my summer cucumbers because the aphids and mites sucked them dry.

Of course my favorite volunteer Porter tomatoes, god love them, they are tenacious, if anything.

 

Tomatillos. My first endeavor with this plant. I had no idea it would go all over the place. It’s growing habit is more like pumpkins with how it spreads and takes over.

And the ever-resilient Swiss chard. This stuff is hardy and fairest of all. It grows in the winter, spring, summer and fall. It tastes the best in early spring and late fall. It’s frost tolerant to about 25 degrees, which makes it a perfect choice for my winter garden! It’s also delicious, bright and beautiful.

 

When Frost Happens

One and a half days ago the weather really changed when a powerful cold front move through. The temps dropped considerably in an 18 hour span. It went from being summer to fall in a few hours. There was nothing gradual about it. But then again this year has been anything but typical … 10 degrees in February then 100 degrees in April. Really!? Seriously!?

Yesterday… (OK, 1.5 days ago)

Today …

The first hard, killing frost happened close to dawn today – it was 25 degrees at 8:15 this morning. The frost twinkled brightly all over creation this morning.

At the stop sign near my kid’s school …

Sun on the left, frost on the right. Awesome display of the warmth of the sun.

I attempted to cover my garden and a nice stand of Siam basil in my front flower bed. I had beautiful zinnias in orange and pink. Zinnias are a favorite of mine because they bloom constantly and do well in the hateful August sun plus they are drought tolerant. And we had a hell of a hot, dry summer this year.

When Frost Happens, Things Die.

Yesterday …

Today ….


The frost happened, and made this a very sad flower (and a dead flower.)

Frost killed this future eggplant.

Dead basil.

Although, the frost can bring about beauty of its own.

(How great is it to have a handy iPhone when you are driving down the alley and see something pretty?)

Welcome to the weekend, y’all!