Many types of decorative gourds need to be harvested before a frost. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

If your Iowa garden hasn’t already been hit by frost this season, it more than likely will this week. Late October is already past the average first frost date for fall in most parts of Iowa, so it should come as no surprise.

The National Weather Service is forecasting much colder temperatures this Tuesday, Oct. 24, with nighttime forecasts showing temperatures dipping into the mid-30s, and, as the week ends, the probability for frost increases.

Friday night’s forecast for the Cedar Rapids area shows a low of 33 degrees, followed by 30 degrees on Saturday night.

Depending on your location, your plants could be safe, but it’s best to err on the side of caution.

If you have plants you’d like to save a bit longer, cover them with a sheet overnight or, if they’re in pots, place in a garage or enclosed porch.

Pick tender produce, including tomatoes, cucumbers, muskmelon and peppers, before frost. Vegetables such as kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi and cabbage are cold-hardy and can withstand a frost.

So far, no freeze warnings have been issued, though a light snow could fall sometime Saturday.