Urban Garden Denver Blog



Racing the frost

Earlier in the week, the weather folks put gardeners on alert that we might get a frost. It turned out to be a false alarm (for now) but it did make me evaluate whether or not my garden is ready for cold weather. Since my warm weather annuals are mostly done blooming, and my main flowers  right now are pansies and chrysanthemums, I am ready for fall. However, I have one vegetable that I am waiting to harvest and it needs a little more warm weather. I experimented with a different variety of summer squash this year, figuring that if I wanted plain old zucchini, I could pick some up from others who planted too many. So I planted Clarinette Lebanese Summer Squash from the Botanical Interests seed company (a Colorado company). My Lebanese-American friend says that her family enjoys this variety of squash stuffed and baked. But right now my biggest squash is only about 2 inches long and summer has turned into fall. So I am hoping for a few more weeks of warm weather to grow squash. I know the cool nights are slowing down growth, but the plant does get quite a bit of sun, so I am hopeful.

Lebanese Summer Squash

Thinking about frost made me wonder about averages, firsts and latest in Colorado, since I’ve lived here almost 30 years and can remember some early snows. Most Denverites with children will say that the average first snow is just before Halloween, and even if we have a beautiful fall, snow seems more likely that week. To check out our collective wisdom, I consulted the National Weather Service records. It turns out that our average first frost in Denver is October 7th. The range is from September 8th (1962) to November 15 (1944). While it can certainly change quickly in Colorado, I am going out on a limb and predicting that our first frost will be after the average date this year. The average first snowfall is October 19th, with  dates ranging from September 3 (1961) to November 21 (1934).

While the first frost will put an end to the tender annual flower displays, it will signal time to start planting bulbs. I have ordered several dozen to plant this fall. Meanwhile I will enjoy the lovely Colorado fall days and cool nights.

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