Saturday, April 3, 2010

For the Record

I believe I reported here earlier that the Hub had put together a very respectable small greenhouse from a kit purchased over the interweb.

While it is cunning as can be, it lacks an independent heat source, and so far, whatever the high or low is out of doors, it is replicated in the greenhouse with perhaps a degree or so variation.

For this reason (and no other) I had resisted the Hub's repeated advisories that  I "should" put my baby tomato plants in the greenhouse.

You see I'd read in several places, and believed it when I read it, that tomato plants are sensitive to being subjected to temperatures under 50 degrees.  They don't like it and repay the injury with the insult of a low to nonexistent crop of fruit set on plants not appropriately protected.

As a matter of fact, I attributed the Great Tomato Crop Failure of 2009 directly and repeatedly to a combination of early exposure to low nighttime temperatures in conjunction with our drought and ovenesque summertime highs.

"The evening low temperatures are not yet reliably staying above 50 degrees" was my stated hopefully not personally insulting rationale for resisting Hub's ongoing campaign to help populate his completed greenhouse.  "You know the greenhouse is running at the same temperature as the outside air.".

His reply to my resistance yesterday evening?  Another question.

Hub: "What temperature is it outside now?".

This was around 7:30 PM and, after glancing at the thermometer outside our kitchen window, my pro forma reply was "Seventy-seven".

Hub again.  "And the temperature inside the greenhouse?".

Me [sighing slightly]:  "Seventy seven.".

The Hub then launched into a bit of a verbal broadside, maintaining the tide has turned, the weather she has warmed, and furthermore there are no forecast lows below 50 for the next run of days. He calmly stated if I would simply move the seedlings he would see to it they were watered and fertilized.

I replied I was up to my spatula in dinner prep and he had my permission to move the plants with my gratitude for the small favor.

So he did.

Predictably enough (those of you who are in long term relationships will see this one coming a mile away) this morning, after their very first night in the greenhouse, when I checked the ambient temperature out of doors?  It sat in the high forties.

The temperature where my tomato babies now resided inside the greenhouse?  The same.

Your Honor, let the transcript state, if these tomato plants do not produce a bumper crop, all blame that should reasonably be divided into two portions, and thereafter laid in equal halves squarely at the feet of Mr. "You Should Move the Plants into the Greenhouse" Hub and Ms. "But the Nighttime Lows Aren't Reliable" Gardenista, will rather be apportioned in one large lump sum as ALL HIS FAULT.

Because, that's why.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I rest my case.


  1. You must know how much I appreciate the "legal" format of this post, Deb! I went ahead and planted almost all my tomatoes and basils in the ground today. I was told (by a farmer at Boggy Creek) not to baby the tomatoes TOO much, when I described how I was moving the pots in and out every night. So, I think we're doing okay? Fingers crossed.

  2. Iris, you are always several steps ahead of me and this year will see no difference. : ) I have all my basil plants still neatly stored inside their seeds. My tomato babies are waiting for me to dash out in the late afternoon (when pollen counts are lower) and prep the soil.

    My vote goes with the BC farmer then. Piffle on over babying!

  3. I don't think you will have any problems with the tomatoes, Deb. I put mine out as soon as I think there will be no more freezes. They don't grow much on top when it's cool but they grow more roots. I want them producing tomatoes as soon as possible before the big heat gets here. I vote Hubby is a good guy. I know, were just sticking together.

  4. And I say, buy another couple of plants, put a marker on 'em and test it out. You can't have too many homegrown tomatoes. And if you do, I'll be happy to relieve you of the burden.

    Your family discussion sounded so much like some of the conversations at our house...

  5. Bob you are quite right - the Hub is a very good guy. I don't mean to paint him otherwise. He and I are both firstborns, both very stubborn, both convinced our way is the only way... We are Rock and the Hard Place.

    Kat I might end up buying plants as a stop gap measure. My baby plants are still pretty small and the plants at the nurseries seem way ahead of the game tall wise. Wonder if that means mine have better roots? No idea.

    You are right though - you can never EVER have too many homegrown tomatoes. I'll settle for just enough, honestly.


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Rollingwood, Central Texas
Family historian by default. Oldest surviving matriarch on my branch of the Family Tree. Story teller, photo taker, gardener, cook, blabbermouth.