And here comes the frost!
Well folks, as we all know Montana is a volatile place in regards to weather. It can be 99 during the day and 49 at night one day, and the next is 80 and the next it’s 55. I’ve seen snow in mid-June, 90 degrees every day for a week in early May, and sub-10 degree weather in the first week in October. So, it should be no surprise to Western Montana’s that we got an early frost early this past Wednesday morning.
It is always a sad day at the farm when we get that first legitimate freeze, but at the same time we all know it is something out of our control, which I think allows us to reflect on the many, many things we, as humans, have very little control over. And while we couldn’t stop the impending frost that we knew would kill our outdoor tomatoes, peppers, basil, eggplants, squash, zucchini, pumpkins, and cucumbers, we did pull up our boot straps and did as much harvesting and freeze prevention as we could!
On Monday it was all hands on deck as we harvested all of the over 1,800 pumpkins we were able to grow this year, which is a new record number for the PEAS Farm. The students, volunteers, and Youth Harvest teens line up in the fields between the pumpkins and the truck that will carry them to the shed, the pumpkins are cut, and tossed arm to arm along a line, finally landing in the back of the truck.
Oh, and PS – many of these pumpkins will be available for purchase and subsequent carving at our Fall Harvest Festival at the farm on October 13, so come on out that day for a whole lot of fun (face painting, pony rides, etc.).
We were also able to stave off some frost damage by turn on the overhead water in the winter squash field, the zucchini and cucumber field, and in the outdoor tomato, pepper, and eggplant field. This strategically timed watering can create a micro-climate that is a few degrees warmer then the surrounding air. This means that if it drops to 29 or so, we can save some crops. So, for all you CSAers, don’t dismay! We will still have some yummy peppers, maters, squash, zukes, and cukes for you in the future, that is if Thursday’s frost isn’t too severe — Cross your fingers!