That is truly the question. It is always a game when we start a new season. The game goes like this. How early of a crop can you get out of the garden beds? Put things in as early as you possibly can.....make sure you ordered enough seed to reseed if your crop gets frosted. When it comes to transplants (i.e. tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants) this is a different story. We push the limit on these as well........but beware because one spring frost can take out your entire crop for the season. We start all of our own plants from seed in the seed room in the barn. When the seedlings get too big for the lights, they get transferred to the hoophouse for hardening off before they go into the beds outside. This transfer from the secure, heated seed room to the hoophouse is always a tricky thing. When should you do it?
We transferred all of our tomato and eggplant seedlings to the hoophouse on Sunday evening. It had been a warm weekend and we knew that it was supposed to get chilly on Monday night (low 40s) but no worries because it would be warm in the hoophouse (at least 5 degrees above that under plastic). I had to leave town at 4 am on Tuesday morning for a meeting in Mississippi. I got up, made coffee, went out to my car and noticed that it was a bit more than chilly......it was downright cold!!!! I got in the car, turned it on and noticed that temperature was already down to 34 and we still had 3 hours before the daybreak warmup......aaaagghhhh!!!!! I sat there in my car wondering whether to go take them into the house or to leave them alone and risk it. If we lost those plants we wouldn't have time to get more started!!!! I chose to leave them and hope the hoophouse did its job.
Harmony had to take Kade to school that day and she noticed that it registered 31 degrees at 7 am..........and pretty heavy frost!!!!! OH NO!!!! I sat in my meeting in fits of worry about the tomatoes and eggplants until I got a picture texted to me from Harmony at around 10 in the morning.........thank goodness!!!! NO DAMAGE!
The hoophouse did its job!!
Lucky for everyone......if all goes well we will still have tomatoes and eggplants this season!!! :)
Dylan and Harmony, whichever of us have the time to sit down and write for a few minutes. : )