[Market-farming] Frost Alert

road's end farm organic101 at linkny.com
Tue Sep 27 20:12:01 EDT 2005

On Sep 27, 2005, at 9:48 AM, Ploughshare wrote:

> This Thursday Morning we are expecting frost(central MN).  In the past
> years,  I spent the days ahead of time harvesting everything except 
> the root
> crops(pulling all nighters before the frost), but I don't think I had 
> to.
> So I would like other folk's advice..here's what we still have in the 
> field.
> What would folks for sure harvest?
> Kale, Cabbage, parsley, cilantro, carrots, beets (green top), peppers,
> hubbard squash, pie pumpkins, huge pumpkins, arugula, daikon, brussel
> sprouts, eggplant, turnips, popcorn, braising greens, chinese cabbage,
> broccoli, radishes, rhutabagas.  Weather.com is saying 34 degrees, the 
> radio
> is saying frost likely and I know that we are usually 5 degrees colder 
> than
> what weather.com says.
> ---I am especially wondering about the hubbards, and pie pumpkins and
> peppers and hot peppers if it only gets down to 29 degrees.
> --Gary Brever

Too late now I expect; but I would have taken the first the eggplant, 
which may take cold damage to the fruit even if it doesn't quite frost; 
then peppers; then the winter squash and pumpkins. The rest of that 
stuff will all take light frost (popcorn leaves won't but I think the 
ears will if they're ripe), and all those brassica (cabbage family) 
crops will have improved flavor afterwards.

Someone else replied to this:
> Some people don't pick their winter squash until after a light frost 
> kills
> the vines.
> Squash really doesn't have it best flavor until after frost. 

Squash and pumpkins may take chill damage and not store well if they 
get too hard a frost. Leaves sometimes protect them well enough through 
the first light frost; but that's cutting it fine if it's colder than 

I've had fantastic flavor on squash that hasn't frosted, or even been 
very cool. Some squash varieties improve in flavor with curing after 
harvest and/or after vine kill, but they generally cure better kept 
warm. But I don't like to take brussels sprouts until it has frosted, 
the flavor is much better on them afterwards.

-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
Fresh-market organic produce, small scale
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