This is the Mortgage Lifter tomato plant now. It's no longer thriving. After several days of below-freezing temperatures and two nights that registered a high of 9 degrees, I don't blame it.
In it's defense, it hung on for as long as it could. So did I. I did my best to protect all the tomato plants in the greenhouse throughout this cold spell, and I really thought I had it in the bag. But then just before the warm up came along we dipped into some record nightly lows, and that did us in.
By us, I mean me and the tomato plants. We're a team, or we were. And when our best efforts fell short of success, this team gracefully accepted defeat.
Well, we did take a few moments to wallow in self pity, blame everyone in the world but ourselves for our failure, and look upward toward the heavens while shaking our fists in anger at the injustice of it all.
But after that, we were fine.
Anyone who's spent anytime at all in the garden knows that sometimes you just have to let things go. A good gardener knows that doing that sometimes involves coming up with a new plan.
A new planting plan, that is. This time, my plan involves some season-appropriate crops.
Lettuce, kale, spinach, and chard all enjoy cold weather, and I just happened to have some seedlings started and ready for transplanting. I like to be prepared for the worst, so I started these seedlings weeks ago for such a time as this.
I knew I was pushing it by trying to keep the tomatoes plants alive until Christmas, but I had to try. And in a different year it might have worked. But the weather in the Ozarks is about as predictable as is the next appearance of my elusive pond panther, and I'm okay with that. It sure keeps you on your toes...as does my panther, now that I think about it.
I knew the tomatoes couldn't last forever, and when they finally gave up the battle, having fresh new leafy green seedlings waiting in the wings sure helped cushion the blow.
It just makes sense to work with seasons instead of fighting them, so this week it's out with the summer veggies and in with the winter ones. My seedlings are ready to go, and my tomato plants are ready to go away.
I think it's a good move. Since these new plants require less heat than the tomatoes did, I won't have to worry as much about keeping the greenhouse warm. All they need is minimal protection against frost and freezing, and then the basics like sunlight and water. And actually, they need less light and water in the winter than any other time of the year. The cooler weather causes them to grow more slowly, and some even go dormant when the temperatures dip into the extremes. Kind of reminds me of myself...
Thankfully in the gardening world, when one thing ends, another begins. And that's just fine with me. It keeps life interesting, and it keeps me busy!
Plus, it keeps me out of trouble...and off of the prayer list.