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Cathie Rowand/ The Journal Gazette
Sheet placed on top of vegetable garden to protect plants.

Early frost means a cold winter?

I was flipping through the channels on the television before I headed off to bed last night when I noticed a frost warning on the local weather station. Seems a bit early to have frost, especially now that my tomatoes seem to be producing more than they did this summer.

I went out and covered my vegetables the best I could. My dogs went without sheet on their beds last night as I scrambled for as many sheets I could find to cover everything up.

This morning as I headed off to IPFW for class, I saw frost on my car. For as hot as this summer has been, you'd think that we would have a mild fall. I am, however, hoping for a really cold winter. I know people don't like to hear that, but it would be good for the garden.

A mild winter seems to produce an early influx of insects in the spring. A mild winter also puts a lot of stress on trees. I have heard that most fruit trees need a spell of cold weather to end their dormancy and promote spring growth.

This year the blossoms on my fruit trees came out too early and then were damaged by several sub-freezing nights and frost. I ended up with 10 apples that then shriveled up as the hot dry summer began in June.

I went to Cook Orchard hoping that the apple growing pros had better luck. The apples they had to sell were shipped in from Pennsylvania. I was told that they lost their whole crop.

Journey through gardening season with Rosa Salter Rodriguez (feature writer), Anne Gregory (Web editor and writer), Frank Noonan (copy editor) and Cathie Rowand (photographer)