Self-control when gardening

It is taking every bit of self-control I can muster to avoid planting my vegetables out right now, even though I know we got another frost warning for tonight. Ideally I’d have had my plants out last week, but this polar vortex has messed up all my plans. I’m back to bringing the plants in and out again, but at least now I’ve only got about 25 to schlepp around instead of 90.

I’ve been carefully watching the temperatures, and we brought in the plants on Friday afternoon. About that time we realized the fluorescent ballast on my existing grow light setup had gone out, so Jared went to the store me to save me. He ended up buying led grow lights because the old cheap shop light I had from years ago isn’t being made any more. So we set up the plants indoors like this:

I have some squash and cucumber plants I’m starting from seed indoors because I’m going to assume these multiple days of frost is killing them. If they sprout anyway, it’s fine. I can just give away the extra plants.

I laid down half of the tomato plants to let them bend upward for trench planting. I’ve decided to go ahead and plant all the tomatoes in the main bed horizontally so they can have a nice root base up close where the plastic has (hopefully) warmed the soil. Since I now have the drip irrigation, too, I think that I’ll be able to grow roots deeply as well and avoid the problems I had last year with irregular watering.

The cucumber seeds I started have sprouted:

Sprouted in three days at 80 degrees soil temperature

Only three of the beans I soaked and started sprouting have germinated so far, so I moved them from the heat mat to the top of the fridge again. I think the heat mat may be set too warm for the beans to sprout properly. I put three germinated beans into the seed tray, and I hope they will come out of the soil soon.

Now my plants are outside again soaking up a little bit of real sunlight before I bring them in this evening:

It will be technically warm enough to plant out on Wednesday, but I am going to wait until Thursday so that lows will be in the fifties for the next week or so, which will mean less transplanting shock for the plants once they go out. I WILL WAIT even though it’s killing me. I want these plants out!

Posted by Jenny Smith

I'm Jenny Smith. I keep up with three cars, two kids, one husband, and I live on 300+ acres of rolling farmland in Northern Virginia where we look after an elderly relative. I like tomatoes, all things Star Trek, watercolor, and reading. I spend most days in the garden fighting deer and groundhogs as I pursue a graduate degree. I'm trying to be like Jesus -- emphasis on the trying.