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What’s left after the first frost?

By Penny Stine

My garden got hit by frost one night this week. Pretty sad zucchini.

The tomatoes are equally gone, as are the peppers and melons. In fact, they're all starting to get soggy-looking and sad. I'll spend several hours this weekend cleaning up my garden of all the frozen remains.



Some plants, however, are still going strong, like the kale. Carrots, beets and celery root are also quite happy in spite of the cold nights. When it gets really cold and the snow's coming down, the kale will turn brown, but I've learned not to dig it up or pull it out. In late winter, I just cut away the brown leaves and I'm picking kale again from the same plant by mid-April.

Perennial herbs can take the cold as well. This is parley, which is a biennial plant, which means it takes two years to complete its life cycle. Mine seems to be acting more like a power-hungry perennial set on world domination, but that's OK, I've never had to plant it again for it to reproduce. I like having it in the garden because it's usually the first thing that grows in the spring and it's one of the last thing to freeze and turn brown in late fall.


This is salad burnet, which is a true perennial and will be green and pretty again by  April. It's still green and pretty in late October when lots of other things have turned brown. 


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