When does the frost really come around here? Some people insist that the first frost is October 15, but that is usually just a nipper. It may kill your sensitive vegetables like tomatoes and basil, but in the rest of the yard you will see just a few black leaves here and there. Mainly, the first frosts will settle into low parts, like a sunken garden, and the rest of your yard will be fine for another six to eight weeks. Sometimes containers surrounded by the heat of patio stones can survive until Thanksgiving, other times they really do get frozen in early October. I just try to enjoy every day of my garden as if it might be the last.
This year has been really unpredictable, with very cool evenings and warm days, but one thing I know is that the gardens love this weather so far. Lawns seem greener, pots seem fuller, and flowers seem brighter all with the season change.
While our plants and flowers will go on for as long as they can, the one thing not to take chances with is your irrigation system. Some systems, like certain plants and gardens, are just in really frost prone areas. A light frost will bust a valve on the back flow preventer and you will have a flood on your hands. For this reason, drip systems should be drained and the excess water blown out before October 15. Some people are already draining theirs, but I recommending setting it for every day for another week or so to really soak the plants and trees. Of course, only if you live outside of the city, otherwise you are still subject to stage 3 restrictions. Remember, you will have to get the hose out to hand water every couple of weeks if you want your garden to be healthy in the spring. Also, moist plants are less prone to long term frost damage.
Plant of the week award has to go this week to the many orangey read ash trees around town. One place to see several is the back of the parking lot at The Inn of the Governors. These trees are pretty average all year except for now, when they are the closest thing that we get to beautiful fall foliage in the desert.