Monday, November 3, 2008

Frost in the Garden and Brassica Update

We have been receiving numerous thick frosts the last few weeks. I like photographing frost so I have been out a couple times to photograph it. The best time to photograph frost is in the middle of winter like in the photo below which was taken in winter 2005. If we receive a few warm days which creates fog followed by a fast cool down the fog will freeze over night and creates hoar frost. Hoar frost most often occurs near bodies of water.

This was taken in winter 2005. This was the thickest hoar
frost I had ever seen. This was taken beside the Grand River.

The photo's below are of the broccoli and brussel sprouts, they have been recently taken. The brassica's don't seem to be bothered even by the hardest frost.

Brussel Sprout Leaf

Broccoli Leaf

Brussel Sprouts taken in the morning frosted

Brussel Sprouts taken in the afternoon after
the frost has dissipated.

I think I will put the row cover permanently over the broccoli if we get a prolonged cool down but so far it has been fine left out in the open. The broccoli is just starting to form flower heads so fingers crossed it stays just warm enough for them to produce.

Broccoli Bud. In the summer from this stage to harvest
was about 2-3 weeks, with the cold I am guessing it will
take longer. We are supposed to have some warm days
over the next couple weeks so maybe it will speed it up

The brussel sprouts are starting to fatten up so I am hoping I can harvest them by the first couple weeks of December. They may be under 6 inches of snow by then but I have heard they can take snow. I have put a post on garden web about how to get the sprouts to grow faster and evenly. I was told that you should top the brussel sprout plants 4-6 weeks before you want to harvest. I am going to give this a try because the sprouts that are closer to the top are only the size of marbles.

These are the larger sprouts, they
need to double to be at the
proper size.


  1. The frost in the first pic looks like snow! Wow, that is a heavy frost. We dont see that much down here in GA. I am wondering with this early cold snap, if we are in for a long cold winter this year... hummmmm only time will tell...

  2. Skeeter - It was a heavy frost, first time I had even seen such an event. All the crystals were as thin as paper and about 1"-2" long. As much as winter is nice I am glade such a setting is at least 3 months away.

  3. Wow, Canada is colder than Maine! I'm impressed, I'd given up on anything green and living.

  4. I've been tempted to harvest my brussels sprouts at their current marble size, but you're giving me encouragement that I should continue to wait. I worry mine don't get enough sun and that they won't get much bigger, but we'll see. Maybe I will try topping the plants.

  5. I love Brussels Sprouts! I wonder why there is an s after brussel. Hmm.

    I put you on my blog to mister!! hehe!

  6. dawn - it has been pretty cold the last few days but I think Maine is still a colder place as a whole. I'm a zone 5 and most of Maine is zone 3-4.

    emily - Mine had full sun all summer but now that the sun is lower the hedge is shading them so I am having the same thought.

    leighann - I'm not sure why there is an "s" at the end and if I knew how to spell I would have added that "s" lol

  7. Hey Dan, I was wondering how long it took broccoli to mature once the tiny heads appear....mine are the same size as yours! I've still got 11 left out there, and will probably freeze most of it.


  8. Hoar frost is so beautiful-cold though!

  9. EG - in the summer they took 2-3 weeks to develop. This is the first time growing them in the cold weather so I think it will probably take a little longer this late in the season.

    tina - it is really nice, if you do an image search it will pull up photos of whole areas that are just white with frost. The cold is right, I think when I took that photo the temp dropped to -30c(-22F) with the wind chill that night after having a few warms days before hand.

  10. Nice photos in your blog...
    /Martin -Janne

  11. Oh wow, look at those brussel sprouts. It gives me hope that I can try to plant some seeds now, and they may survive the cold in winter. It rarely snows here, it might get down to 30 degrees F, but it rarely snows. I hope you snap some great snow photos when the time comes!

  12. there an s at the end??

    And then I put to instead of too. What is up with my spelling? Sheesh!

  13. gardenlife - thanks

    dp - you should give them a try over the winter

    leighann - I think there is supposed to be an s at the end so you are correct. I'm a horrible speller so don't worry about misspelling here.

    ashok - thanks