Forecast puts Glenwood Springs’ freezing temperatures in rearview for now |

Forecast puts Glenwood Springs’ freezing temperatures in rearview for now

Local gardener advises green thumbs still have time to plant beets, lettuce

Gardener Karen Garrison picks away at freeze-damaged zucchini plant leaves while at the Glenwood community garden after the first freeze hit the area the night before.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Fall officially begins Wednesday with the autumnal equinox, but for Glenwood Springs gardeners, the season kicked off early as the area’s first freeze set in Monday night.

“My crops got singed around the edges,” said Karen Garrison, a grower for the Senior Food Program and green thumb at the Glenwood Springs Wulfsohn Community Garden. “I managed to save some tomatoes and some cucumbers. But yeah, there were losses.”

Temperatures around Glenwood Springs varied Monday night, dropping as low as 31 degrees in the northwest portions of the city, near the community garden. But in the southeast, near the Glenwood Springs Cemetery, temperatures dropped to about 38 degrees, National Weather Service Meteorologist Scott Stearns said.

“We had an area of low pressure pass through, bringing some cold temps with it,” Stearns said. “It allowed cold air to move in, but the kicker was the cloud cover moved out early, allowing for efficient cooling.”

Coming in from the Pacific Northwest, the low pressure system moved east-by-southeast, he said.

The area typically experiences its first freeze later in September, but based on weather data collected since 1988, Stearns said freezing temps can occur as early as Sept. 14 or as late as Oct. 25.

With an area of warm pressure moving through in the next week, temperatures could rise for the next 7-10 days, he said.

“It’s going to warm back up in Glenwood Springs,” Stearns said. “I don’t anticipate you’ll see another freeze warning in the near future.”

During the autumn equinox, the Sun crosses the celestial equator, an imaginary extension of Earth’s equator line into space, the Farmer’s Almanac reported. Loosely translated from Latin, equinox means “equal night” and refers to a single date, during which day and night are nearly equal in length.

“The equinox doesn’t affect weather, but the fact we’re seeing less sunlight during the day, temperatures are going to get colder,” Stearns said. “This is especially pertinent in Glenwood Springs, because the high mountain walls already decrease the amount of sunlight the city receives.”

Garrison shrugs off the frustration of losing some vegetables to dropping temperatures, choosing to instead see it as a challenge.

“The novelty of this time of year is trying to figure out what you can get in before the next freeze, kind of like a little game,” she said. “Save what you can, compost the rest, and get ready for next year.”

The growing season is not over yet, however, Garrison explained.

“You’ve got time now to plant lettuce and beets,” she said. “Put a mulch over those beets, and you’ll get beet tops in about 30 days. I wouldn’t try for peas at this point, but I’m sure someone will. It’s not an exact science.”

Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at

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