Saturday, March 23, 2013

Frozen Tomato Seedlings, Anyone?

Since usually I get to brag about how well our garden does, I also have to be completely honest here and record my non-successes.  I don't want to gloss over how easy it is to grow your own food from seed because it does take alot of work and care, therefore I must tell you about my first (of many, I'm sure) major gardening failure of 2013.

The COLD SNAP occurred this past Wednesday night, I was caught totally unaware. Thursday morning our thermometer showed 27F and yet it still didn't hit me that I had left the tomato seedlings in the greenhouse.  They had been out there for two weeks looking great and having no problems staying out there overnight when the lows were mid 30s.  Nope, it did not hit me until I checked on the after work and I found this...
Frozen to death, the lettuce still looks great though!

So sad.  I moved them inside immediately, gave them the pep talk of their lives, set them under a heat lamp and slunk into a very bad mood.

All my hard work!  For nothing!

The next day it snowed 5 inches...wait, what?  Wasn't it 80F last weekend?  And wasn't last March the warmest March on record?  And didn't I plant my Roma tomatoes the first of April last year?  Am I not in (Ar)Kansas anymore, Aunt Em? 

And about a day after THAT I finally got over it, trimmed the dead leaves and began a search and rescue mission for survivors.

As I snipped off dead leaves under the grow light, I could still see some bright green leaves hanging on for dear life!  So I sucked it up, repotted the survivors, said my apologies and started replanting. 

I salvaged 14 out of 36.  Geez I feel like the Grim Reaper of tomato plants.

9 Arkansas Travelers
1 Amish Paste
2 Chadwick Cherry
2 Russian Gypsy

Although its not a huge loss I was disappointed by not having enough Amish Paste in particular.  I was planning on counting on them for the majority of my canning tomatoes, so I decided to resow some more seeds.  I do think its fitting though that the variety that best survived (Arkansas Traveler) was cultivated and saved for generations here in Arkansas and it was best suited to survive our manic weather patterns.

I still have plenty of time, I was just hoping to get them to harvesting size before the summer heat decreases their production and I have to fight off the blister beetles and hornworms.

Oh well, I can still make due, but it made me stop and think how lucky we are to not HAVE to depend on our garden to put food on the table.  How much more disappointed I would be if my gardening failures meant no food on the table?  So I will not gripe too much more about my bonehead mistake and I will say a prayer that the gardeners around the world who depend on their harvests will have a bountiful year ahead.