It's happened (and it's rather early, too). The first frost has hit, which has taken out the remaining eggplants, basil, and peppers (hot-weather-loving plants). The cooler-weather plants, like Russian kale and chard and Brussels sprouts, will be fine for quite a bit longer. The tomatoes were already dead/dying, ravaged by a summer of too much moisture, not enough heat, and rampant spread of septoria and blight.
The peppers will have to be picked today, as they can't take this frosty weather.
The frost also means that this was the first morning that I had to start a fire in the wood stove (we've been having fires at night, but not during the day). Winter is coming, and with it, an entirely different set of chores! Feeding and watering the chickens is not so pleasant when it's 30 degrees and your wet hands are freezing! Of course, it's going to get much colder, and so I better get used to it...
We opted not to protect any of our more delicate plants, as we are just about at the end of the season anyway and have harvested plenty. But if we had wanted the peppers to survive, we could have thrown some floating row covers over them, covered them in some sort of plastic or tarp, or ran the sprinklers all night (the moving water prevents the plants from freezing).... which some people may want to do in the next few weeks if there is a frost advisory. When we were living in the city, I don't remember frost warnings being on the news too much, but here, out in rural farming country, it is a top priority to warn local farmers and gardeners that a damaging frost is approaching. It's interesting how different rural news can be from its urban counterpart!
So today I will head out to the garden, pick the remaining peppers and eggplants, and preserve them (I'm thinking roasting and then freezing). We've had a great harvest this summer, despite the goofy weather and pesky disease and pest problems, and so I am thankful. We will certainly enjoy it all winter!