No more procrastinating.
If you’ve been lucky enough to escape the frost so far, you might have delayed those last-minute harvests of tomatoes, peppers and other veggies, but the clock is ticking.
According to the National Weather Service, frost is likely in the Cedar Rapids area Thursday night and a hard freeze – with temperatures below 28 degrees for several hours – is forecast for Halloween this Friday, into Saturday morning.
Every year before a predicted frost, I harvest as many tomatoes as I can. Even those that are green will ripen on the counter. Some of my peppers only began blooming this month, but I did find this tiny green pepper to harvest and left a few jalapeno peppers on my plants that I’ll have to grab if they survive the night.
Swiss chard, kale and other hardier vegetables may survive the frost, and even a freeze, but it’s better to play it safe and harvest what you can now.
What is a hard or killing freeze? I’ve seen it defined several ways and am partial to the sustained 28 degrees, though some call for lower temps.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac, which defines a hard freeze as at least four consecutive hours of air temperatures below 25 degrees Fahrenheit, offers more frost and freeze tips here.
In either case, with Halloween night’s forecast of a frighteningly frigid 23 degrees, it looks like the end of the growing season in this part of Eastern Iowa.