It was back in December that I had planned on starting my tomato plants from seed this year rather than buying transplants. For one, it would be easier on the wallet. 15 bucks of seeds versus 30/40 bucks in transplants. But really it was the second option. To see the transformation from seed to harvest. This is something I don’t usually do as it takes about two months of growing in a pot before moving to the garden. In years past it gets too cold to do this in the greenhouse and Stephanie doesn’t like my ‘hobby’ making its way inside unless she is eating it. If I were to start tomatoes from seed starting this month, they wouldn’t get big enough to fruit before the heat of summer hits. But this year was extremely mild. I started them about mid January in a window sill in our bedroom. About 6 different varieties with 6-8 seeds each. It didn’t take them long to sprout and by the 29th they had sprouted and were on their way.
Once they had all sprouted, I moved them to the greenhouse during the day and just watched the weather. If it got below 35, I moved the plants inside since the greenhouse isn’t heated. Every day or so I would go out and water the tiny seedlings. Once the got their first true leaves, I divided them up into individual pots so as not to get rooted together.
Finally, the last weekend of February came, and looking at the ten day forecast and the recent La Nina weather effect, I figured I would go ahead and transplant everything outside into their final home. Every day for the next 6 days I watched the weather report religiously. It wasn’t until this past Sunday that the cards I went all in on got trumped by a better hand. You see, for some reason, instead of the forecast 40 degree night it dipped some 5 to 6 degrees cooler. It was enough to frost. It was enough to damage. I walked outside that morning and just spotted a couple that were a bit droopy. Must need water? Nope. Or perhaps a state of transplant shock? Nope.
Two months of hard work. Gone. Two months of watching new life grow. Gone.
The final tally after all was pulled was 28. No more Black Krim. Or San Marzano. Or Big Rainbow. Or Mortgage Lifter. All I have left are 4 Cherokee Purple and 2 German Johnson.
It really was heartbreaking. I went out that same day, with the family in tow, to Marshall Grain. To get those transplants. To spend that 40 bucks I tried to save. I planted them the same day hoping I would feel better about the whole situation. It helped. But I’m still pretty pissed with myself. Yes, Stephanie, you were right. I should have waited to plant until my normal March 15th planting date. You were right.