I watched the weather forecast closely this week. The week after plant out, when all the frost tender vegetables are newly planted, is when it usually happens.
A day of cold southerly rain, bringing much-needed moisture. The rain is good, and the low daytime temperatures won’t damage the plants.
But somehow, those rain clouds always blow away as the sun sets. The wind dies, and the air grows still as the temperature plummets.
The weather forecasts rarely predict these frosts, but I’ve learned to look out for them.
Today, as the clouds broke just in time for a spectacular rainbow before sunset, I knew the garden would be in trouble before dawn.
I pulled out all the frost cloth I own, and as the light faded, covered as many tender plants as I could. At this point, I can’t possibly cover them all, but I can strategically save those I would be most sorry to lose, and those that are most sensitive to frost.
Before dawn I will be in the garden again checking for frost. If I’m lucky, there will be none. If I’m unlucky, I’ll spend the early hours hosing down the plants I couldn’t cover in the hopes of saving them.
The strategy works…mostly. But just one frost at this time of year can change the landscape in the garden and the food choices we have through the next twelve months. It pays to be vigilant.