|My tomato and pepper plants are loaded with fruit yet and many are green!|
Fall is soon upon us and the threat of frost hangs over our gardens again. The National Weather Service is suggesting a low of 29F tonight in my neck of the woods and I've had questions from a couple of friends about what to do. "Do I cover my plants?' 'My tomatoes are mostly green yet, do I harvest them today?' To answer the question of whether to protect or not, here are a couple of questions to answer for yourself.
1. Is this an early frost? Am I likely to get more good growing season or is day length too short and temps too cool? (See average fall frost dates from NDSU extension here.)
2. Are my plants ready to be done for the year? Sometimes more importantly, am I ready to be done for the year?
3. Do I have time to harvest the remaining produce before frost/freeze sets this evening? Do I have time to protect my garden yet today?
If you are not ready to be done, your plants are not ready to be done and this is probably a short cool spell that you are willing to work with, then go ahead and take measures to protect sensitive plants from the cold. If you and/or your plants are done for the year, or you are not able to protect your garden, then it is time to get out and harvest the produce off from sensitive plants like peppers and tomatoes before the cold sets in. (Check out my post from last fall about ripening green tomatoes indoors if you choose to harvest and ripen them indoors.)
Are you going to protect your garden or harvest today?
Happy Fall Gardening! :)