home & garden: Frost advisory for Sunday night
Janice Leach | Contributor
The National Weather Service has issued a frost advisory for tonight, Sunday, Sept. 23. The combination of clear skies and cold air mass could allow temperatures to fall into the low 30s, with some areas of frost possible after midnight.
This might be the motivation needed to bring in tender potted plants or sensitive house plants that have been summering outdoors. I'll be bringing in a scented geranium and a rosemary plant which have graced our front porch this summer.
I harvested a lot of tomatoes this afternoon, both fully red or starting to turn. The not-yet-ripe tomatoes are washed and dried, and then introduced to the Magic Tomato Bag. This process will only work with tomatoes who haven't been touched by frost, so it's important to act now.
It's also a good idea to cover any tender vegetable plants whose lives you are hoping to extend. Tomatoes and peppers may survive if frost is kept off of the plants. We use sheets or light-weight plastic to keep the frost from settling on the plants. Again, the idea is to keep the frost from touching the plants so using a fence, trellis or support to keep the cover lifted is a great idea. Remove the covers in the morning so that plants can enjoy the sun.
Hardy plants such as kale, broccoli, and collards as well as fall mums should be just fine. Some folks hold that the flavor of kale and collards is actually improved by frost.
None of these methods are guaranteed. We like to give them a try because there still may be enough warm days ahead to make the effort worthwhile.
Jim and Janice Leach tend a backyard plot in downtown Ann Arbor, where they try to grow as many vegetables and other plants as possible. For the last five years, they've published gardening tips, photos and stories at their 20 Minute Garden website.