Before The Frost

The skies are clear and the temperature is plummeting. Last night the thermometer went down into the 30s. Tonight we might have our first frost. My vegetable garden, a jungle in mid-summer, is now mostly bare. I know that it’s possible to extend the season with poly-tunnels and cold frames. I have no desire to do that. This time of year I take pleasure in yanking out old plants and raking the beds clean. A garden is demanding. Vegetables need to be harvested and dealt with on their schedule. Meal planning is determined by what is ripe. There’s a lot of nostalgia and fervor over local and sustainable and eating by the seasons, but honestly, my chard has been green and upright since early spring. I’m tired of it!




I’m happy, though, to have a second harvest of green beans. Green beans don’t ask a lot of the cook.




The tomatoes have succumbed to blight.



There weren’t many left, anyway. I harvested the last trug-full and turned them into green tomato chutney last night.



A month ago, after harvesting carrots, I planted zinnia seeds. What a pleasure to have a bed of color that asks nothing of me.



The bees appreciate the blooms, too.



I’ve still got work to do in the garden. A last thorough weeding eases springtime chores. A gardener has to look ahead. But, not everyone has that attitude. Scooter knows best what to do as summer winds down – sunbathe while you still can.



  1. Summers end….bittersweet is what I say! I love fall but know what awaits much too quickly….I picked a 5 lb. butternut squash that I roasted and am making soup and ravioli w/ brown butter and sage sauce. I have .mountains of peppers that I’ll be frying or hot pepper relish, I’ll see what I have time for! I did make fried green tomatoes for the first time, they weren’t that exciting at least not as much as my fresh sauce w/ basil….well enough rambling….my girls are wanting to roam the yard and seeing a fox was in our backyard last night, I have to be out there with them….Always love your posts! Have a great day!

  2. Oh you guys up North are so blessed to see the end of this summers infernal heat! We are still in the 80’s in NC. Mosquitos are flourishing. Cicadas are still chirpping or buzzing or whatever it is that they do.

    • Linda….yes it was hot, this summer was the hottest July on record up here in CT, so it feels funny to have a long sleeved shirt WITH a sweatshirt on! But, hubby retires in 2 yrs AND we are heading SOUTH! lol

  3. Scooter is storing up solar energy for winter! Just got a kick out of you and your husband herding the goats out of the chicken run. Boy, they were determined to check out the hens’ space if you were gonna let the hens in their space!

  4. Wow, frost already? Is this early.
    Our first frost is usually around Halloween.
    My tomatoes are being yanked out this weekend.

      • I had to scrape my windshield before heading out this morning (SE Ontario, Canada). About normal for us as well: Most years we get at least one early frost night in September. The tomatoes did get covered last night so that they can ripen a little longer on the vine until I can get them picked this weekend.

  5. Oh, I look at your temperatures every morning with a little jealously. Here in Louisiana our heat index yesterday was 102 degrees. It is just miserable. I can only imagine crisp fall days. Oh well, there is no place like home!

  6. I pulled all the crummy stuff outta my garden too. Such that is was….a HUGE failure this year..your tomatoes look BEAUTIFUL even with blight! I did watch the Weather Channel and I ALWAYS look to see your weather…The 30’s..WOW!!!!!!!

  7. Fall cleanup was always my favorite part of gardening. I loved tucking in the Roses (still awhile to go for that) and raking leaves etc. Autumn has its own special feeling and aroma. Love it!

    I always made sure I had some Brussles sprouts planted because they’re sweetest after the first frost. I have never liked tomatoes after Labor Day. I think it’s maybe the strength and/or angle of the sun, but I think their quality degrades. Looks like a cozy gardening day at Little Pond Farm.

  8. Scooter has such a determined look for an eyes closed face, what is he plotting! Summers end is definitely here too. We have cold and rain now so suddenly after our last warm days.

  9. Love checking your temp every day. We are still burning up in TX. Our summer wasn’t as bad as some in the past, though. Can’t wait to see Phoebe in the snow… just not anytime soon.

  10. I love the expression on Scooter’s face, he looks like he’s on the front of a knitting pattern from 1975. We have rain and more rain (just for a change) in England, northern England will get their first frost tonight. We had 63 degrees today – chilly!

  11. I’m amazed at how many green beans 5 plants can produce. And they don’t look like they are slowing down at all. Still plenty warm in CA and my tomatoes are just starting to ripen. Guess that’s because I didn’t get them in the ground until the beginning of July! So my summer harvest season has barely begun and I’ve already bought seeds for the fall/winter garden. Beets, kale, swiss chard, and cabbage…yum!

  12. Oh how I love Scooter! He knows a good place to grab some relaxation, but my guess would be he is on “high alert”!

  13. Our garden didn’t do well this year, first to much rain then not enough. Jim gave up on it the end of July. Hardly any peppers, few potatoes, even not much on the squash front :-( We DID have a good Spring for asparagus and that I loved.
    This summer hasn’t been as bad here in NW Arkansas as it was the last two years, but very strange. We got rain the first two weeks in August then someone turned off the tap!! Haven’t had hardly any for the last 5 weeks or so.
    I like Fall, but like someone else, I know what will follow. Oh well, Lots of comfort food through the winter and then Spring will come again. We are expecting a cool down by the week-end.
    Scooter has the right idea..sunbathe while you still can!!

  14. My first planting was eaten by the rabbits and ground hog. Then the frost came and took down my second planting, but the third time I planted I did get some nice veggies and we’ll have a second green bean picking in a few days if the frost doesn’t ruin that. My herbs did very nicely and the pumpkins are still coming in. I am tired of it now and can’t wait to close it all down. Today I baked a jewish apple Cake…yum and made apple sauce.

    It looks like Buffy might need a spa day again before winter. She isn’t sleeping on the roast and doesn’t seem to be able to make it outside sometimes. I sure do miss Siouxsie.

      • Thank you for your update on Buffy. I had noticed that her feathers were not their usual healthy and fluffy. She’s still up and about during the day though, eating and drinking and dustbathing, so that gives me hope that she’s still feeling okay. Twinkydink does appear to be feeling her age these days – at least that’s the impression I got the last few times I’ve checked in. I also noticed quite a number of feathers in the big barn. One of the gems must be going through a molt too?

  15. My chickens are molting too. Feathers everywhere! I’ve been overwhelmed by my gardens here in Northeast Alabama. I’ve canned all summer long and now I’ve got figs to deal with and loads of sweet potatoes to dig up and lots of hot peppers still coming on. There’s a good crop of cilantro and arugula. Oh, how can I forget the okra! They will be producing until frost. That’s one of the nice things about the South, the long growing season and heat loving veggies. My husband is from New York state and until he came South he never had some of those veggies. I love seeing what Terry has in her gardens. I’m inspired to try new things!

    • Terry’s gardens are fabulous. I’m still looking for someone in the area to gift me horseradish after seeing her’s but it seems like the Amish don’t grow or eat it…it was always on our table when I was a kid and I almost forgot about it until I saw her’s. We just moved back to Pa. after spending 2 years in Texas. San Antonio was not good for growing anything. The rivers were dried up and of course digging in the dirt meant dealing with fire ants!

  16. In the Spring time, my garden fever kicks in and I always say I want a Fall garden after all the summer veggies are done. Then late Summer comes and I have no ambition for it. I am ready to rip my garden out and let the girls have at all the straw mulch…they are sure to find some amazing bugs under there! I LOVE Zinnias and they are always a hit and so easy to grow. Pretty! Scooter is a hoot…looks like royalty sitting there in the sun. :)