Looking At Landcare (23/7/2021) – A Little Bit of Frost-ing

Hi Landcarers

Given the fabulous frosty start to the day, I thought a conversation about frost might be timely!

Growing up, frosts were always an intriguing topic of winter discussions in our family. With grandparents who were dairy farmers, when we visited, we got to experience many frosty mornings on the carry-all, with 5am starts. Amazingly the cows just seemed to take these frosty mornings in their stride. I guess they knew that a chaff feed was awaiting!

It is funny that as excited children we just put on the layers and the gum boots and got into the day. My grandfather’s pointy, bent nose was renowned for leaking on a frosty morning. I think that like the cows he probably embraced the frosty early mornings fully knowing that it was likely that the day ahead was going to be a sunny corker!

So…what is frost? Frost is a thin layer of ice on a solid surface. This is formed from water vapour in an atmosphere that is above freezing, when it comes into contact with a solid surface whose temperature is below freezing. The water vapour changes to ice as the water vapour reaches freezing point.

Anyone who has suffered the impact of frost on sensitive garden plants would know the devastation of the impact of frost. Black leaves, spots, total destruction of some plants. Many crops are also susceptible depending on their stage of growth and timing of the frost. Of course, it then has the potential to cost millions of dollars.  With changes in climatic conditions, these are considerations that are part of further grain research.

Frosts do have the benefit of impacting some pests and diseases. There are some plants that actually benefit from the impact of frost.

Whilst the risk of frost impacting plants, different types of frosting can also be detrimental to your waist. This frosting, also known as icing was first introduced in the 17th century. Yes, I thought this was a fun way to end off this week’s article. Icing used to be applied to cakes and then hardened in the oven!

Google tells me that the verb ‘to ice’ dates back to around 1600 and the noun ‘icing’ dates back to around 1683.

The other thing I have observed is that frosting, or icing doesn’t seem to damage what it is covering…it usually helps to improve it, unlike some frosts!

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