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Wishing for that First Fall Frost

I can't help but look forward to that 1st frost of Fall. I'm embarrassed to admit that the weeds have truly overtaken my garden. What I intended to be a paradise of fragrant and colorful flowers has turned out to be a tangled mess of ugly vines and weedy plants with a few colorful beauties mixed in. The first frost will kill all the ugly things, for which I will be very grateful.


But also, that frost will make some plants better. Turnip and mustard greens are not really tasty until touched by that crisp first frost. Many of our shrubs and trees known for their vivid Fall colors will not color up until nights turn cold.
Itea Merlot in Fall


One of my favorite fall chores is riding the lawnmower around chopping up all the leaves before they are sucked up into the bagger. I then spread them out all over my planting beds. Winter rains (I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they come!) will help the leaves to rot and break down, enriching the garden soil.

Cooler temperatures in the Fall are absolutely perfect for planting and transplanting. Perennials, trees, and shrubs establish much better when put in the ground right before winter. Down South where we are, the ground doesn't freeze, so plant roots continue to grow all winter while topgrowth takes a rest. During the winter, plants can get their roots down deep into the ground to reach water and nutrients before having to expend any energy growing new leaves, stems, and flowers.

But also, that frost will make some plants better. Turnip and mustard greens are not really tasty until touched by that crisp first frost. Many of our shrubs and trees known for their vivid Fall colors will not color up until nights turn cold.

Cooler temperatures make gardening more enjoyable. Last week, the outdoor temperature was 96 and the humidity was so high that our heat index was over 100 degrees, so everything I had to do out there was a real chore. This morning, the cool breeze reminds me of my favorite gardening weather. When temperatures are cool enough to wear long sleeves in the garden, I will think I'm in Heaven. There's just something about working in the garden when it's too cool to sweat that I just love.

While others might dread the cold weather, not me. Is it wrong for me to wish for that first frost of Fall? I don't think so.

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