We had a frost – and I missed it!

While I was off spending time with family and making marmalade, dramatic things were happening in my garden.

This marigold will no longer be of any help detering bugs
This marigold will no longer be of any help detering bugs

The temperatures had been falling all week and it was getting really cold.  It had been so mild for so long that the thought of a frost didn’t really enter my head as a possibility except as a vague risk that would destroy my peppers and make for a pretty photo opportunity – yet I didn’t see it actually coming.

How amazing would this have looked with a frosty coating
How amazing would this have looked with a frosty coating

I have no idea why this perfectly natural seasonal event would come along and completely blindside me.  I must have been either naive or crazy to think it wouldn’t happen.  But it did, and while we were away.

I guess this is means it's time to dig up my Kumara
I guess this is means it’s time to dig up my Kumara

It almost seems like those hot muggy summers day when you just need the rain to come and break the humidity somehow and make the weather bearable again, although this was the opposite…  it was getting colder and colder and then the frost seems to have cleared the air and the temperatures are climbing again.  The boffins say they will be back in double figures soon and will be well above normal winter averages.  They also advised us not to expect the next frost until mid-July!

Beans have no business growing in winter anyway!
Beans have no business growing in winter anyway!

So instead of beautiful pictures of ice crystals clinging to the edges of all my plants all I can offer is pictures of mushy, manky plants that have frozen and defrosted and have clearly been through a period of suffering.  As the gardener and the one responsible for the health and well-being of my plants I do feel like I have let them down.

This was my biggest fear - my peppers are now finished and there is nothing for it but to dig them out!
This was my biggest fear – my peppers are now finished and there is nothing for it but to dig them out!

Come again soon – there is always a bright side and if it’s supposed to be warm and sunny, I can get loads of gardening done!

Sarah  the Gardener  : o )

11 thoughts on “We had a frost – and I missed it!

  1. Sarah – have you tried putting your capsicums somewhere sheltered for the winter, rather than digging them up? They are said to be perennial and I have had them survive in the ground from year to year, although here in the south they do not fruit as it is too cold.

    1. Hi Kimberley. Thank you for your advice. One year I dug up a chili and a very mild pepper and overwintered them in the greenhouse. The fruit that developed was unexpectedly hot and I nearly killed Hubby the Un-Gardener by accident.
      I have resigned myself to them dying and I do enjoy the ritual of sowing new seed as they are the first of the summer crop I sow in August. I just hate pulling stuff out unless it is actually dead, brown and shrivelled and there is no coming back.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  2. why is it getting so cold now where you are? we had a severe cold snap in late april and it frost bit alot of my plants which fortunantly survived and grew new leaves, thank goodness I didn’t plant my beans till end of may. alot of my plants are very cold hardy up to zone 3 so they are tolerant of our freezes in zone5/6. even the virginia creepers got a bit of frost bite and looked horrible, now they have new leaves and look wonderful again, just wish they flowered too.

    1. Hi Roberta. It is so cold here as we are in the middle of winter in New Zealand here in the southern hemisphere. I see from the news that the northern hemisphere is having record hot temperatures and I hope they aren’t affecting you too much where you are. You have beautiful flowers in your garden.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

      1. no we are just about right temp wise, is new zealand a nice place ot live? do you have dangerous crittors on that island? things will get better in summer, I was watching this video and they said during the early spring that new zealand was sufferieng some drought, is this true.?

  3. Oh no! I hope they can recover! It seems as gardeners we are always kept on our toes. Mother Nature show no mercy. And while you are getting frost, we are getting record heat. Love reading about your gardening adventures on the other side of the planet!

    1. Hi There. I hope the heat isn’t too unbearable. Sometimes it seems harder to garden in the extreme heat that it is when it is cold and yucky.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

    1. Hi Sheila. That is one of the things I like about gardening, the fact that it is constantly changing – it keeps it exciting.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  4. Hi Sarah,
    Frost surprised us to up north, 2 degrees this morning.
    Don’t pull out the capsicum, just trim all dead stems, it will come back to life when it ready and produce better than last year. The plants form last year had more fruit than the new season plants and I had red capsicum before xmas. Even if you leave them outside, some might survive, worth the try. They should survive the transfer indoors too.
    I read somewhere that the more you water your chili plants, the milder they become. in a dry season you will have very hot chilies. I think it is right because my 2 chili plants outside are not as hot as there were in the summer.
    lucky i have indoor garden, i cannot garden outside in the winter

    1. Hi Dina. One of the things I enjoy each spring is starting off those first seeds, and as they need the longest time to get going – it is always the peppers. So while I don’t mind – in theory – the demise of the old peppers so I can justify that early start to seed planting, it always saddens me that they do die.
      One year I did dig them up and move them to the green house where they made the hottest peppers ever!
      I’m always torn emotionally over my peppers at this time of year.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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