When disaster strikes

Disaster struck Runamuk yesterday.

There had been a hard frost Saturday night.  When I went out Sunday morning to check on my tomato and pepper seedlings in the second grow house, every muscle in my body turned to jell-o, and I began to tingle all over. All of those precious seedlings were damaged by the frost. Limp, wet leaves and shriveled stems met my gaze as I peered into that plastic-covered grow tunnel.

I’ve been watching the weather reports  closely, and I saw the forecasted hard-frost, so I took a tarp outside at nine o’clock Saturday night and fixed that over the top of the grow-house containing the nightshade seedlings.  I really thought the plastic would protect them.  After all, farmers keep seedlings in hoop-houses, which are not heated in any way.

Oh how wrong I was!

Maybe it was the 3 mil plastic–I wonder if I had used a heavier gauge would that have changed the situation at all?

For the next couple of hours all I could think about was what a dismal failure I am as a gardener–as a prospective farmer!  How could I have allowed that crop to die like that!?

That crop was going to give me a head-start on tomatoes and peppers, my crop would have been slightly earlier than many other folks’ tomatoes and peppers.  Not to mention all of the extra seedlings I’d planned to sell at roadside for some extra revenue, which is sorely needed in my start-up venture.

But now it’s all gone.

So I took in a movie with my sister, which took my mind off my misfortune for a couple of hours; then I returned home to face the awful truth.

I brought back into the house tray after tray of cold-ravaged seedlings and proceeded to pluck the stems from the pots, tapping all of the soil into a 5-gallon pail to be used again, and tossed the damaged seedlings onto a pile to become compost.

Then I sat at the kitchen table replanting tomatoes and peppers until ten o’clock at night.

Now instead of having a crop that will be ready slightly early, I will have a crop that will be ready a bit late.  With the exception of the Black Prince variety, which produces an early crop–that one will probably produce “on-time”.

It all comes from trying to start up something with nothing.

I’ve got no hoop-house, no greenhouse, not even a spare room inside my house.  My seedlings are under lights in our dinning/living room space, in front of our big picture window.  Not the most ideal of situations–but still doable.  And it is my hope that I can work Runamuk up so that I can invest in the proper equipment and structures as I go.

So it was a huge disappointment, and a set-back, but I will not let it get me down for long.  I will take this as another of life’s lessons–a harsh lesson, but one I surely will never forget.

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About Samantha Burns

Maine blogger, beekeeper and farmer. Follow along with my many misadventures in the pursuit of a more sustainable life. Find out how I am advocating for local food in my community and working to promote pollinator conservation here in the state of Maine. Every day is an adventure!

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  1. Pingback: Hardening seedlings in a mini hoop-house | Runamuk Acres

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