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Garden fail. Two words that just sum it all up. Sometimes in life, you take risks and they pay off……other times, not so much. We knew we were taking a risk but we dove right in anyways.
After we inventoried our seeds, we realized that we had plenty to experiment with and worse case scenario, we could order more seeds if needed. Now, that’s a terrible thought, having to browse seed catalogs and choose varieties to buy…… 😉
We were experiencing a period of February weather in the upper 70’s and low 80’s. The extended forecast looked great and we had that box of seeds just staring us down. We decided that we could risk it and start our garden a few weeks early. We’d either be ahead of the game or it could get cold again and damage or kill any plants that we started.
You have to know that 2016 was a crazy year for us and we didn’t really get to garden much. The 2017 garden was also a challenge being in a new zone and trying to learn it. That coupled with the fire ants and the soil being pretty much sterile left us with not a whole lot of harvest. We were eager to do some real gardening this year.
First, we planted and just like last year, we had fire ants eating our seeds before they germinated. This was frustrating but we still had decent germination. There were green beans, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumber, okra, corn, watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkins, acorn squash, and a few volunteers from last year. Things were looking really great in our garden.
We had also planted some cold weather veggies and they were (and are) looking great too. It was also the right time to start tomatoes and peppers. We love growing heirloom tomatoes and pepper in lots of varieties. We started 142 tomato plants and 56 pepper plants. Most of the tomatoes germinated and were just starting to get true leaves. The peppers haven’t germinated yet. I’m still holding out hope for them.
Fast forward a few weeks…… We continually check the weather reports so that we could take the necessary precautions if it looked like it was going to be too cold. We had one sort of cold snap that took out a few plants but the rest remained healthy. And then, it happened. An unexpected heavy frost. The weather report was off by over 10° F and they didn’t issue a frost advisory.
We don’t rely on “them” for the frost advisory but the temperature forecast is pretty important in decision making. So, all of the spring vegetables died. 🙁 This was a risk that we took so we were disappointed but we knew it was definitely a possibility. The thing that we are most bummed out about is the tomatoes. We do have 11 little survivors so we are grateful to have any left. We also started a couple of squash seeds in pots and they survived. They’re for my sister in law so that’s a relief!
If we’d known it was going to get that cold or frost, we would have brought the seedlings inside and they would have been just fine. Big ol’ sigh. It’s also too late to start more because by the time they’d start producing, it will be too hot for the plants. Once the heat hits, everything shrivels up and dies in the garden.
The plan is to try to find some organic tomato plants that are already started to add to our survivors in the next couple of weeks. We haven’t bought plants here in Florida so we aren’t sure what’s out there yet. It’ll be kind of fun looking for them though.
Like I said before, the peppers haven’t germinated yet so we hold out hope for them. If not, we’d also like to get some started pepper plants for the garden.
This is real life, y’all. We live, we learn. Trial and error is the way we go sometimes. Life is a continual learning curve, I suppose. At any rate, I got some early gardening therapy. It’s amazing how digging in the dirt can soothe the soul so much.
Seeds have been ordered, we will look for plants, and all will be well on this homestead. Oh, and we have baby goats due soon so there’s that little ray of sunshine. And bees, we’re getting bees next month too. Lot’s of wonderful blessings coming our way. The good outweighs the negative for sure.
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