MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A cold night is expected across the state. In fact, here in the metro, we could get our first hard freeze.

For gardeners, this is an especially busy time as they have to get their plants and produce ready for the cold.

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When Jean Gonzalez started her garden 15 years ago, she didn’t expect much.

“I’m just like ‘let me see if I can get these flowers to grow,’” she said, laughing. “Then, we started getting some of the vegetables and it just spiraled from there.”

Now, Gonzalez grows more than 30 kinds of produce in her Bloomington backyard.

“I’m a teacher and have summers off, so that’s my soothing activity for the summertime,” Gonzalez said.

When she found out the first frost of the season was on the way, she had her work cut out. All weekend, her family was busy picking the peppers, 10 full bags of them, ahead of the frost.

“I’ve made so much salsa,” she said. “I have so many bags of chili peppers.”

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Horticulturalist Abby Davis says it’s a good idea to pick or cover up fruits and veggies you want to save.

“It’s been a very slow short season, so people still have a lot of produce out there they want to protect ,” Davis said.

It’s also a good time for prep work.

“It’s a good time to seed because the seed won’t germinate until spring, but it will be in place and moist,” Davis said.

Eila Savela was stocking up on seeds at Bachman’s on Lyndale in Minneapolis.

“It’s going to be the big operation to plant everything within the next week and a half,” Savela said. “Then, in winter when I get depressed, I know they’ll be coming.”

For most plants, it’s best to just let nature take its course, which means for Gonzalez, the only task she has left is to eat all that salsa.

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“We’ll be ready for spring!” Gonzalez said.

Kate Raddatz