Letter: Waiting for the first frost

At the end of September, when we stopped at the Wallkill View stand to buy sweet corn (a great year for it), I asked the clerk how long they’d be having corn. “Until the first killing frost,” she replied.

I responded “Be careful, you may not want to say that.” And when she looked at me quizzically, I said, “With climate change, the timing of the first frost is very elusive.”

Every farmer focuses on the first killing frost, and some years as a farmer, when I was exhausted, I prayed for a July frost! A 90-year-old dairy farmer friend from Claryville in the Catskills said he’d seen frost in every month of the year. When I asked him whether a July frost was an early or a late frost, he chuckled.


The first frost generally determines the length of the growing season, which in this area, might be 180 days. Our son, who farms in Essex, New York along Lake Champlain, has only a 100-day growing season.

Last weekend, we celebrated Ann’s birthday on the Rip Van Winkle ship on the Hudson in shirt sleeves in 70-degree weather. A part of me celebrated the global warming that has increased our comfort range – and our growing season.

But while relishing the unprecedented mild temperatures, the dark side of me realized that somewhere, glaciers were melting, sea levels were rising, and floods and droughts were the result. As we enjoy this balmy fall weather, let’s also be cognizant of the downside of a late first frost.

Dan Guenther

New Paltz

There are 3 comments

  1. Been to Antartica recently? or just New York?

    Global Cooling is Killing Penguins – Not Global Warming. Contrary to Global Warming, the reality of what is going on is serious and these fake scientists have distorted the cyclical nature of our world for personal gain that they are leading us down a path of serious destruction. The ice has expanded so much that there is a major catastrophe in the penguin community. All but two Adelie penguin chicks have starved to death in their east Antarctic colony. Nature scientists are calling this breeding season as “catastrophic” because the unusually high amounts of ice late in the season, has made adults penguins travel further for food.
    It is the second bad season in five years after no chicks survived in 2015 also because of the expansion in ice. We are headed into a serious decline in temperature and that is when civilization declines significantly. The worst appears to be hitting after 2032. This is really no joke. by Martin Armstrong
    Din’t believe it? Google: Adelie penguin starving

  2. Dina Jones

    “Been to Antartica” – you are confused. Baby penguins are dying because the ice shelf is melting and they are being subjected to more rain and greater fluctuating temperatures. In order to gather food for their chicks, adult penguins are having to swim further due to less stable ice. They are blocked by large chunks of ice (aka icebergs) that have broken off due to the melting of the once stable ice shelf. The baby penguins are also being impacted by more rain and less snow- due to our warming climate. Penguins are designed to deal with snow, not rain. Warming sea water, melting ice shelfs, large icebergs and fluctuating temperatures are the factors killing penguins – none of which comes from “global cooling”.
    Here are articles that explain the problem in detail:

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