Yes, you’re right. Our first fall frost does seem to be taking its time in the Pikes Peak foothills and plains region this year! Unlike more typical October weather (see photo at left), we’ve had very warm temperatures and super dry conditions. In fact, the previous record latest date for the first fall frost (official temperature reading taken at the Colorado Springs airport) was Oct 18 (this happened in 1972 and 1980).
Well, the suspense is over! It looks like the new record will be Oct 25 or 26, 2010. (Update: The first frost/freeze occurred Oct 27, 2010 and the temperature was 18 degrees!)
We have a definite freeze watch with a predicted low of 27 degrees F for tonight (Oct 25), which should be enough to defeat most frost protection measures (of course, I’m not talking about the really crazy gardeners who put Christmas lights under their plastic hoop houses to keep temps up). And if tonight doesn’t deliver the killing freeze, it looks like tomorrow night will (predicted low of 25 deg F).
So bring in the last of those green tomatoes, take cuttings of those favorite pelargoniums, and unhook those hoses from the faucets. If you use quick connectors for attaching hose end accessories, you’ll want to take those off and bring them inside. The female quick connector ends will break if they freeze. This is also true for any spray gun type hose accessories as well.
And of course, start dreaming of next season…. after all, those gardening catalogs will start showing in about a month, and it’s only about three months until those first spring crocus start blooming!
Contributed by Carey Harrington, Certified Colorado Gardener