I was dreading going home last night, wondering what the frost damage would be. I was not encouraged by the report my husband had called to give me: "Everything is dead!"
Well, it turns out, everything is definitely NOT dead. Reports of the demise of my entire summer's work were greatly exaggerated. In fact, I don't think I lost a single tomato plant. The jalapeno peppers took it the hardest, and they may in fact be dead, but other varieties of peppers are okay. I don't know about the zucchini; leaves are shriveled on both the green and yellow ones but the plant stems are still erect. Winter squash leaves are black and shriveled, but even if those plants succumbed to the frost I can still harvest the squash. The Kentucky Wonder pole beans took a hit too but don't look entirely dead. The Diva cucumbers are questionable, as are the picklers. But everything else is okay!
The tomato bed next to the chicken tractor, my "tomato jungle", where I planted all of my leftover transplants with reckless abandon, looked well despite having been partially covered late at night, when it was already freezing. This may have been due to two factors: one, as I mentioned in my previous post, is that the plants were so close together with dense leafy growth that the leaves served as insulation; two, the chickens may have kept that area warmer than the rest of the garden. Maybe I'll design some kind of chicken-heated hoop houses for extending the season for tomatoes and peppers.
Speaking of chickens, they are getting huge. My husband is in charge of slaughter, and he's thinking maybe it will be in a couple of weeks. We have a friend that has a scalder and plucker, so we may get together with him and do all of our birds at once.