Cut flowers sunflower zinnia

First Frost Warning: What it means for outdoor plants

Usually during the months of September and October, we will start to see warnings for the first frost of the season.  If you are a gardener you’ll want to keep an eye out for a first frost warning.  We’re here to help with some easy tips.

What does a frost warning mean?

Generally, a frost warning means that temperatures will dip down into the 30s, creating an icy frost on plants, grass and cars.

What happens during the first frost of the season?

  • Annuals will finish for the season.  Many plants will turn brown, including their leaves and flowers.
  • Vegetables in the garden will finish for the season.
  • Some hardy flowers, like mums, will survive the first frost.  They usually survive until a hard frost occurs, when temperatures dipping into the twenties.

One positive result of the first frost is that mosquitoes will not survive the cold temperatures.

What should you do to prepare for the first frost warning?

First frost warning Cut flowers sunflower zinnia

  • Cut your final batch of flowers and put them in a vase indoors.
  • Harvest all of your vegetables.  This includes tomatoes, corn, and cucumbers.
  • Gather any seeds from flowers you want to plant next year
  • Cover any plants which you want to keep growing.

What can you do to extend your growing season?

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are referral links, which means that if you make a purchase, there is no extra cost, but Running A Household will receive a commission. Thank you for supporting our website.

If there will be just one or two nights with low temperatures expected, you may want to consider extending your growing season.

  • Bring potted plants indoors.
  • Cover up flowers and vegetables to protect them from the frost.  In the past, we have used sheets, lightweight blankets and even a tarp.  Large pieces of plastic and brown paper bags  will also work, if there isn’t any wind.
  • This Garden Quilt Cover will certainly keep your plants protected from frost. It’s large size makes it easy to cover multiple plants.
  • Don’t have any covers?  Some gardeners have used water as an insulator.  How does it work?  You can sprinkle water on your garden later in the day.  As long as there isn’t too much sun or wind, the water will stay on the plant leaves and freeze overnight, acting as insulation.  It’s certainly worth a try if you don’t have any other options. Generally this method works when temperatures are right around the freezing mark of 32 degrees or slightly below.

Good luck preparing for the first frost.

You may also find these articles helpful:

Things to plant this fall

It’s Time to Put Down Step 4 Fertilizer

When Should You Plant Grass Seed?

Household Checklist October

Household Checklist for October

Fall is officially here, and there’s plenty to do around the house in October.  We’re here to help with our printable Household Checklist for October and detailed information for the projects you need to tackle this month. So let’s get started.


Household Items to Handle in October


  • Update Your Time Management Schedule
  • Work on Fall Cleaning Indoors (see separate checklists below)
  • Get ready for Halloween (see Halloween checklist below)


Take apart vegetable and flower gardens

Rake leaves

Plant Fall bulbs and perennials

Go pumpkin picking / buy mums

Wash and put away patio furniture

Clean gutters

Have chimney cleaned

Put fall fertilizer and lime on lawn

Pool: Remove leaves and drain water


  • Finish shopping for school/winter clothes (coats, boots, snow pants)
  • Balance checkbook
  • Budget

Meal Planning

  • Host October events
  • Plan upcoming birthdays, Thanksgiving and events in November
  • Get a head start on Christmas preparations (see Christmas Checklist below)

Details on October Projects

Here are some specific details on our October projects.  Just click on the link below to read more.

Weekday schedule in half hour increments

Tool Box: Time Management Schedule

Halloween Checklist

Halloween Checklist You Can’t Miss

Halloween bucket of candy treats

Don’t gyp the kids: How to give out Halloween candy when you’re not home

How to drain water from a pool cover

Tips on How to Drain Water from a Pool Cover

Leaf Rake

How to Remove Leaves from Pool Cover

Gutters with Leaves

It’s Time to Clean Out Your Gutters

Leaves - oak

Do it yourself: How to clean up fall leaves

Cut flowers sunflower zinnia

First Frost Warning: What it means for you and your outdoor plants

Fall - Orange mumsFall Cleaning Checklists

Pork Roast DinnerWhat’s for Dinner? Fall Dinner Ideas

Fall - Mums in basketFall Decorating Ideas

Back to School Checklist

Back to School Shopping Checklist

White lounge chairs

Easy Way to Clean Plastic Patio Furniture

Hats and scarves in bin

Simple ways to organize winter hats and mittens

Hand Me Down Clothes 2

How to Organize “Hand Me Down” Clothes

Pink Tree

Enjoy the holiday season: October Checklist

 Thankgsiving Dinner

Planning Thanksgiving Dinner


Printable Household Checklist for October

Just click on the link below for a printable copy of our Household Checklist for October:


Household Checklist October

Household Checklist for October

By scheduling time to handle these items in October, you’ll be sure to keep everything running smoothly in your household.

Next steps:

Need more ideas?  Check out our Toolbox tab above.

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