Frost versus Hard Frost

Yellow Squash

Yellow Squash

LAKE MACBRIDE— There is a difference between a frost and a hard frost, and last night’s temperature dip provided an example of what it means. From looking at the thumbnail to the left, one likely can’t see the frost damage on these yellow squash seedlings. If the reader clicks on it, the damage is evident along the left row.

Frosted Seedling

Frosted Seedling

Try a closer view of one of the plants and see the blackened, frost-damaged leaf. The big picture is that temperatures at ground level are not uniform, and while some leaves were damaged, the patch of yellow squash plants survived the frost as a whole. Last night, when I decided that a 34 degree overnight forecast did not warrant covering the seedlings, I pushed the envelope, but my judgment was vindicated by this morning’s surviving squash patch.

Likewise, the seedlings that matter most to my summer salad plate were safely put away in the garage.

Lettuce, Cucumbers and Tomatoes

Lettuce, Cucumbers and Tomatoes

Apples are another matter. My report is that bees are busy pollinating this morning, and an apple crisis due to frost like last year was averted. There are some blossom petals on the ground, indicating post-pollination, but not many. Today the apple trees were again in full bloom.

Apple Trees Blooming

Apple Trees Blooming

The closeup shows there was some frost damage, but not enough to endanger the entire crop.

Frosted Apple Blossoms

Frosted Apple Blossoms

In the work-a-day world, people may not have time to spend closely observing the garden, and do worry about frost. At the same time, Mother Nature will provide for us, if we provide for her. There is no need to worry, just evaluate available information against one’s experience, think, take action, and live with the results.

If the yellow squash seedlings had all frosted, there is time to replant this spring. If my squash fails completely, other growers provide my safety network. In the web of life, we are never alone to face the frost, and that should provide some comfort.

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