Saturday, October 16, 2010

Frost fake-out

This warm, wonderful fall weather is just too good to be true.  It's such an unbelievable blessing.  Today, I woke up for my morning spin class, and it was 45 degrees.  But by 1 p.m., the temps climbed up to 75 degrees.  Can you believe this is the middle of October? 

Last year, we had our first snow here in central Iowa around Oct. 9.

Fast-forward to today, and Iowa's landscape looks more like this.

Oh, the quiet beauty of a freshly harvested field.  Iowa farmers have been working like gang-busters to get the crops out of the field before the snow flies.  Thankfully, we've had a two-week dry spell in central Iowa, which has kept the combines rolling out in the fields.

Last week, we had a bit of a frost scare.  Temperatures were forecast to potentially drop below freezing for the first time this fall.  The average first frost date for central Iowa is around Oct. 10, so it's to be expected.  But I was disappointed that I had to pluck my little plot of green lettuce just as it was starting to take off.

I grabbed as much lettuce as I could, then gave it a bath in the sink before giving it a ride in the salad spinner and putting it in a plastic baggie.  I enjoyed lettuce salads for lunch during the week.

I also picked the green tomatoes from the vine, the ones that hadn't been eaten by insects. 

I was surprised to find a pepper on a plant that was flooded and knocked over by the wind during this summer's torrent of storms.  This plant is a survivor!

The next morning, I expected to see my lettuce and tomato plants shriveled under a layer of frost.  Instead, the frost never arrived.  And believe it or not, my remaining lettuce still looks remarkably green and is thriving in the sunny, cool weather.  I would have never guessed that I'd be growing lettuce in mid-October.  I'm loving my three-season garden.


  1. Enjoy the weather while you can. I sure hope we don't get as cold as we were last winter. We were supposed to get all these hurricanes too, but the season's not over until Nov. I enjoyed your photos.

  2. I have found lettuce to be rather hardy. I through a row cover over my lettuce last year in a raised bed beside the house and it weathered very cold temperatures and even snow. I cut a fresh lettuce salad on the last week of December. Finally in January it got very cold and froze to mush but it was fun to have it last that long! If you don't have row cover, try using an old sheer curtain!

  3. That's a great idea! I actually have some old sheer curtains that I could use for row covers. Thanks so much for the advice!


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