A late first frost.

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

I looked at my notes and usually I have all my house plants inside by this time of the year. Average first frost date for here is about 27 SEP. Looking at various 10 and 30 day forecasts I see no lows in the 30's for quite some time yet. Nice. I'm enjoying it. I hope this is helping the farmers as well. Does add to my electric bill once I start turning on plant lights. Have been in the coast mode for a while now - no heat, no A/C running. How goes it for the rest of you? Gene

Hobart, IN

Hey, Gene - this has been the nicest stretch of weather the whole growing season. A slow start with all of the rain and cool temps. Veggies didn't get a decent start back in the spring, resulting in fewer tomatoes, squash and cucumbers. Then a couple of heat waves didn't help either and kept me indoors. On the other hand, all established perennials and shrubs bloomed like mad. I actually had a second flush of roses and Hydrangea 'Limelight' is still throwing out new flowers. But annuals didn't do as well. I keep thinking I need to start bringing plants indoors as well. I think our average first frost is the middle of October. We may see another abrupt change beyond next week that might have us scrambling.

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Although we had periods of super-hot this summer, we had so much rain all spring and summer that for the first time in years our water restrictions never kicked in to the "Yellow" Even-Odd watering days. We stayed at "Green" Conservation all summer (which means we can water every day, but only in the morning or evening).

I think I only had to water my flower beds once. I haven't even been using our rain barrel. It's been full pretty much all summer. Eventually, I'll just put the rain barrel hose on one of my beds and let it empty just before my husband cleans it our and gets it ready for winter.

Now the weather is fabulous. We've been able to sleep with windows open which is heavenly! In fact, it's been so cool the last several nights we've only opened the bedroom window.

Hobart, IN

I do remember watering once or twice when it went beyond hand watering. But - have used my rain barrels all summer for potted plants, even indoor plants. I have 3 and did manage to empty two (linked) once or twice. At this point, I haven't opened windows at night only because I wake up all stuffy. I think I have undiagnosed allergy as I've been sneezing all summer.

Hobart, IN

OK, Gene - you got the clock ticking. Had to go out and take some coleus cuttings and collect some seed. :) Now I'm thinking I should spray down some of my non-hardy plants to get them ready to come in. Wait - that means I have to clean out the little GH. Sheesh, now you've started a domino effect.:)

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

Hey, start working now or go through a last minute rush (which never works.) More than a late frost, I wish for an accurate forecast that gives me plenty of warning about frost so that I can move things in gradually. I also look at my attitude about winter/snow/cold that way: If it hits all of a sudden, I am in a bad mood most of the winter. But if it comes on gradually I can handle things. Super El Nino this year. Hope it helps us (non-snow and cold fans.) Gene

Hobart, IN

As long as we get snow cover when it's the coldest (Jan/Feb) I'm ok with warmer winter for a change. Oh, and a little thawing in between snow storms, please.
Hmm - the little GH is reaching 90 degrees inside on these sunny days. Don't have a single plant in there right now. Too hot to bring much of the plants into an oven.

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

What a nice stretch of weather. No frost yet, yeah. Had one night of 36 and two of 37 this week. I have about 1/4 of my plants moved inside so far. Picking up the pace though. Gene

Hobart, IN

Little GH has been cleaned, set heater on low (I don't want it below 50) and have started bringing plants in. Did the tropicals last weekend so lemon and banana trees are already in as well as ornamental and edible gingers. Started bringing in some begonias and fuchsias yesterday. Still have blue sky vine and passionflower to lug in as well as some Boston ferns and spider plants. Have a potted hydrangea that I'll leave out for a few more weeks to send it into a semi-dormant state - otherwise, it'll bloom in the GH through the winter. Have already taken coleus cuttings and still want to harvest ornamental sweet potato tubers. I saved them from last year and got them to resprout this year and want to try it again although I may be pushing my luck. Takes a while to bring in the potted plants since they get hosed down first, then sprayed with Azamax and then the pots get wiped off with soapy water. Accuweather has pushed off the 30's for a couple more weeks.

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

31F this morning. Forecast is for 20's by this weekend. Final 10 house plants are coming inside today. Gene

Hobart, IN

Ouch! I need to move a few more plants indoors yet but lemon tree is safely in heated GH and has finally put on some flower buds. I plan on moving a few more large pots indoors this weekend. Wouldn't ya know my blue sky vine is flowering. It flowers late summer for me since it takes its time getting back in good growing form in the spring. I think our first true frost is now predicted for just before Halloween.

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

26F this AM. Forecast is for 28 tomorrow morning. I have not been outside yet to see what all has happened to various plants and trees yet. Gene

Hobart, IN

39 last night (according to my thermometer) but it's supposed to be colder tonight. Put a sheet over my tomatoes and have plants lined up on the patio with a piece of plastic sheltering them but not touching them. Blue sky vine and potted passion flower will have to tough it out one more night. They'll have to be cut off of their respective trellises. Still have to spray down all of the plants still outdoors. Out of town family this weekend so some of these things will have to be done tomorrow.

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