Our 2021 garden: protecting the tomatoes

I’m glad I “wasted” some time on the computer last night, scrolling through Facebook. I came upon a question in one of the local gardening groups I’m on, asking advice on how to protect their transplants if there is a frost.

Frost???

So I checked the forecasts, and instead of the somewhat cooler overnight temperatures I’d seen earlier, it was forecasting a low of 4C/39F, with possible frost in lower areas.

Yes, on the night of June 20.

The problem is, we don’t have a lot available to protect our garden beds. Most wouldn’t need it, but I was concerned about the tomatoes in particular.

Since we buy cases of water to keep in the van, we had quite a few empties that I’d used to help keep the aquarium greenhouses warm. I gathered all I could find and started filling them with hot water. It wasn’t enough, so I started filling gallon jugs. It still wasn’t enough, so I went scrounging in the van’s recycling bag and found some vitamin water bottles to use.

The girls set them out, while I found and filled more.

I really appreciate that yard light on the power pole. We’d have had to juggle water bottles and flashlights, otherwise! 😀

I don’t know what temperature we actually hit last night, but this morning, the tomatoes seemed fine. From what I’ve read, we didn’t necessarily need to use hot water in the bottles for them to be able to protect nearby plants, but if I’d used cold water from the well, they would have been ice cold, and I doubt that would have helped at all. As it was, it took almost a full minute of letting the tap run just to get hot water to the kitchen sink. It’s the farthest away from the hot water tank, so there’s a fair amount of pipe to clear of chilled water, first. And chilled it was!

We should pick up pipe insulation at some point. If only for the pipes leading to the kitchen!

Anyhow.

While doing my rounds this morning, I made sure to check the squash, melons and gourds. So far, they look like they handled the chill all right, but we’ll see over the next couple of days. We’re supposed to get hot again, though today is supposed to reach a high of only 15C/59F, so there isn’t going to be a jump from one extreme to the other.

Another thing to keep in mind as we build our permanent garden beds. Being able to have and use different types of covers, to protect from critters or the weather, as needed.

I look forward to when we can set up a polytunnel or greenhouse, too.

All in good time. It’s only our second year gardening, and we’re learning lots that will be useful when it comes time to build permanent garden beds and structures.

Little by little, it’ll get done.

The Re-Farmer

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