Fall is, hands down, my favorite season of the year. The temperatures are mild and the air has a clarity not seen as much during other seasons. My garden also seems to enjoy the weather, putting on a spurt of growth and end-of-year blooms that cheers the heart.
I’m enjoying this right now but I know that soon the first frost of winter will be knocking on my door. For those of us here in northern Texas that day is somewhere around the middle of November. Why do I care? Well, the first frost date marks the end of the growing season and my last chance to harvest tender annuals such as basil. When I hear the weatherman warning of near freezing temperatures, I get out there and cut the basil down to the ground. Anything left after the first solid frost will wither and turn black overnight.
Do you know when your first frost is likely to happen? Fortunately we can check with the people at the Old Farmer’s Almanac who have a handy tool online to look up this bit of date. Just type in your zip code and you will see the predicted first frost of fall and the last frost of spring. Mark you calendar and be prepared for a ginormous end of season herb harvest. Then you can smile at the freezing weather, knowing you beat Jack Frost to the punch.
Historical Postscript: My faithful readers know I couldn’t resist looking up Jack Frost. this is apparently a relatively recent personification of Old Man Winter, sort of a mischievous younger son. He appeared as a character in a couple of stories by L. Frank Baum, best known as the author of The Wizard of Oz (the classic children’s tale, not that modern day doctor always showing up in our spam mail).