...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


the perils of early gardening

Maybe I got a little too zealous about getting seeds started this year?
Maybe my grow light set-up is super efficient?
Or maybe I was a little off schedule with my dates, but I don't think so...
I charted my plans out according to our last average frost date, and worked from there.
I've nurtured my sweet little seedlings for months now... 
I thought I did everything I was supposed to do.
Little did I know there was peril in being such a "timely" gardener.
It became apparent to me that my seedlings weren't thriving anymore.
They were beginning to "outgrow" their pots, and they were looking wilty and sad.
They were saying to me, "please, please... take us outside!"
So I listened to them. 
I began the process of "hardying" them off, which I've never really done before
since this is my first year growing from seed.
Then I ultimately planted them last week,
and I was so thoroughly tickled with myself.
Only now, come to find out we're having a frost/freeze warning at the tail end of May,
here on Memorial Day weekend,
well past the last average frost date for our area.
Well, poo!
So much for being diligent and timely.
I remember my father cautioning against ever planting tomatoes
before the first of June
and now I see why. 
Freak things like this. 
And with gardening tender plants,
I see now that it's better to be a little late than a little early. 
But all is not lost.  Now I just have to do double duty.
Since I don't want all of those months of work in the basement to go to waste,
I have to carefully tend to all of the tender things. 
Namely:  tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, eggplants.
I started off covering with frost cover fabric from the garden store.
It's so thin and flimsy and blows up with the slightest wind,
even though I was anchoring it down all over the place.
I could see how it might be okay for, say, strawberries who winter over but need good mulching...
But I was worried about my little tomato and pepper babies
who really don't like to go below 50 degrees.  Ever. 
(We're talking possible major stunts in production...)
A lightbulb went off and I thought about all of the empty canning jars we have...
mostly from eating up apple sauce and tomato sauce all winter long...

And it's a great solution!
It provides a nice little mini greenhouse for each plant.
You can see them fogging up with warmth and moisture.

Most of the pepper plants fit in little pint size jelly jars,
but the tomatoes needed quartz size jars.
Good thing they weren't any bigger, or my jar job would not have worked at all.
They look happy now, don't they? 
Hopefully that will get them through!

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