The fall equinox is an astronomical event that marks the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. It occurs when the Sun crosses Earth’s equator. The fall equinox typically occurs on September 22 or 23 each year, but the exact date can vary slightly.

On the fall equinox, day and night are approximately equal in length all over the world. However, this doesn’t mean that the days and nights are actually the same length. In the Northern Hemisphere, the days are slightly longer than the nights on the fall equinox. This is because the Earth’s axis is tilted on its axis by about 23.5 degrees. This tilt causes the Northern Hemisphere to receive more sunlight during the summer and less sunlight during the winter.

Short Days

After the fall equinox, the days become shorter than the nights in the Northern Hemisphere. This continues until the winter solstice, which is the shortest day of the year. The days then start to grow longer again until the summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year.

The fall equinox is a time of change and transition. The leaves on the trees change color and fall to the ground, the days grow shorter and cooler, and many animals begin to prepare for winter. The fall equinox is also a time of celebration in many cultures. For example, in many parts of Europe, the fall equinox is celebrated as harvest festival.

First Frost

The first frost of the season is another important event in the fall. The first frost occurs when the temperature at the ground drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius). The first frost can kill tender plants and flowers, so it’s important to protect them if you live in an area where frost is common.

At Blue Gables Farm, the first frost typically occurs sometime in October, but the exact timing can vary. In some areas, the first frost may not occur until November or December.

There are a few things you can do to protect your plants from the first frost.  We allow most of our annuals to freeze and die, but when we try to get them to winter over, we:

  • Bring them indoors. If you have tender plants or flowers, you can bring them indoors to protect them from the frost. Be sure to place them in a sunny spot and water them regularly.
  • Cover them. If you can’t bring your plants indoors, you can cover them with a frost blanket or sheet. This will help to trap heat and protect them from the cold.
  • Water them deeply. Watering your plants deeply before a frost can help to insulate their roots.
  • Mulch around them. Mulching around your plants can also help to insulate their roots and protect them from the frost.

Celebrate the fall equinox and first frost

We always have mixed feelings about the fall equinox and first frost.  Both are both important events with implications for farmers. They mark the beginning of a new season and a time of change. Yes, our flower season is coming to a close and we won’t be continuing our grow/harvest/market routines, but it also marks a reprieve from a months-long grind.  Our advice is to embrace fall since you can’t avoid it anyway.  There are many ways to celebrate the fall equinox and first frost. Here are a few ideas:

  • Go for a walk or hike. Enjoy the fall foliage and the cooler weather.
  • Have a bonfire. Bonfires are a great way to warm up on a cool fall evening.
  • Roast marshmallows or hot dogs. What’s better than a roasted marshmallow or hot dog on a cool fall evening?
  • Visit a pumpkin patch or apple orchard. Pumpkin patches and apple orchards are a great way to celebrate the fall season and enjoy some fresh produce.
  • Make a pumpkin pie or apple crisp. Pumpkin pie and apple crisp are two classic fall desserts.
  • Read a book by the fire. Curl up with a good book by the fire on a cool fall evening.

The fall equinox and first frost are both special times of year. Take some time to enjoy the changing seasons and celebrate the fall with your loved ones.