The first frost (almost)

Time to harvest me!

The clear night of Oct 21/22 saw the first, very light, frost in parts of Bloomington, Indiana. Official data showed the low of -1 C (+30 F) that night, but obviously it varied between locations.

It was interesting to see its effect of such a "marginal" frost in the garden, as it provides an opportunity to see a fine difference between the sensitivity of different plants, or in the microclimate between different locations in the yard.

Even though peppers are generally said to be hardier than tomatoes, our sweet peppers and jalapeños were unscathed, but a few of the cherry tomato plants, growing near the lowest point of the garden were lightly "burned".

Too old for silk melon, to young for loofah...

The end has come for the two last melon/squash species in the garden. The winter melon (冬瓜) vines, on the ground, were killed, and so were most leaves of the silk melon (a.k.a loofah; 丝瓜) climbing on the fence and trees. The remaining fruit of both were, though intact. (The winter melon probably will be quite useful, but the silk melons appear to be at that awkward stage when they are too hard to eat, but have not yet dried to be conveniently made into loofah for the shower use). The vines of all other melons/squash plants we had had died many weeks ago, in August-Septmeber, God knows why - maybe it was too dry, maybe it was just their natural life cycle.

We had a couple cucumber plants planted in August as an experiment, trying to see if it is possible to obtain a second crop of cucumbers. That did not really work out: the plants struggled during the hot August, and now died with the first frost, producing all of half a cucumber between them.

A few of the morning glory leaves were burned by this mini-frost too, but, interestingly, they were mostly the leaves on top of the fence where the morning glory lives. So the effect in that area must have been not so much from the cold air, but from radiative cooling.

The okra, even though always considered a warm-climate plant, looks more or less alright - although it's pretty useless during the cooler part of the fall, producing hardly any pods anymore. (Not like in the summer, when a pod needs to be picked within a few days after blooming, lest it becomes too tough).

Beans are doing pretty well, so far...

Everything else still looks fine - even most of peppers, tomatoes and beans (growing on a slope, as well as most peppers; this may have helped them a bit; of course, their days are counted now...), as well as the hardier leaf vegetables (various brassica species, radishes, lettuce etc, as well as various ornamentals).

Well, it's only days until the first real frost, probably...

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