Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Last night the temperature dipped below freezing and I worried that I jumped the gun and planted tomatoes in the hoophouse way too early.  But it was in the 70s last week!!!  Since the hoophouse is unheated, but full of tomato plants, my husband suggested that I put our small ceramic heater in to keep it warm.  I also made sure that there were no air leaks and then covered the entire hoophouse with a big tarp for extra protection.  I was afraid to look in the morning, but lo and behold, the tomato plants were green and healthy looking.  Tonight it's not supposed to be quite so cold and although I once again covered the hoophouse with a tarp, I didn't use the heater. 

As an experiment, when we were expecting the freezing temperatures, I planted a few small tomato plants on the south side of my house and covered them with a storage box.  The plants were fine when I looked the next morning.  I've been thinking about putting a small hoophouse or lean-to there as I think that is the warmest side of the house and protected from the west wind.  I think that it would be the ideal site for cold weather crops.  And if I made a lean-to against the house, the wall would be a thermal mass.  I need to think about it and decide whether or not I need even more garden to take care of. 

So the conclusion is that unless the temperature dips down below freezing, my unheated hoophouse does the job and protects my plants.  The tomatoes appear happy and green and like being out of the restraints of their pots. 

As an extra precaution, I threw an old sheet over the early lettuce to keep the frost off of it.  That seemed to work.  Although I did notice that the primrose planted in the windowboxes were a bit frost nipped, but perked up the next day.  The extended forecast predicts cooler temperatures, but no nights below freezing.  So I think that we are 'home free' from here on out!

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