End of season tomato primer

PICT5358If there’s one thing tomato-growers in colder climates fear, it’s early frost that strikes with lots of green fruit still on the vine. According to the Purdue Cooperative Extension, optimal ripening temperature is between 68-77, and it hasn’t been getting nearly that warm here this last week, and the nighttime temperatures just keep on dropping, meaning frost will be here soon.

Here in Zone 5, I face this every single September, so this year I went looking for tips on what to do. Read more

Three tips when frost threatens

Here in Zone 5, September brings with it the perennial question: When will the first frost strike? If Accuweather is, well, accurate, this year our first frost in Lyons may well be Friday night, with temps predicted to dip to 31. Although that’s not a “hard frost” (when temps stay at or below 28 degrees for an hour or two, also called a “killing frost”), it would be enough to nip the remainder of this year’s basil, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis and peppers, as well as tender herbs and annual flowers.

Rather than curse Mother Nature for the apparent lack of Indian Summer, there are a few things gardeners can do to prepare when frost is imminent. Read more