|Tomato with frost damage and healthy leaves on the inside|
Apparently it was a short-lived event. Only portions of the green beans and tomatoes were affected. Plants in both beds had grown very large and it looks like the outer leaves were frozen but helped to insulate the inner ones from the cold breeze. The herbs near the house were protected; there was no damage on the basil, a plant that doesn't handle cold well. The cucumbers and peppers that had no structure or large plants to protect them were completely damaged. I think an extra-cold wind blew, cooled by the system miles away, and left as quickly as it arrived.
Hardier plants like the onions and rhubarb don't seem to be harmed at all. The flowers and trees are fine, though the aspens are in the first stage of color change. But the plants that respond to cold temperatures are obviously changed; like canaries in a coal mine, they gave their lives to show that hazardous conditions existed.
|The pepper that's now toast|
I'm holding out hope that some of the remaining tomatoes will still ripen. It's unlikely yet possible. All of the plant's remaining energy will be directed to the fruit. All of the flowers that I hadn't plucked off are now gone, as are the branches they were attached to. We'll see if there is enough foliage to keep the plants alive and prospering for the short time they have left.
Gardening is a fun pastime that occasionally requires a lot of work in a short time. When you see your freeze coming you must act quickly and cover your crops. A simple sheet of plastic will make the difference if a cold wind blows. Of course this only helps if you see it coming. If you haven't already, make note of your garden and weather effects. What is the temperature at your house compared to what the forecaster reports as the daily highs and lows? Knowing what you can expect based on local forecasts can give you advance warning. For me, I now have to pay attention to what's happening a hundred miles away... and look forward to next year's garden.