Mother Nature is a Most Fickle Friend.
So I clearly must have pissed Mother Nature off with my complaints about the weather because she most certainly dealt us a heavy blow this week.
Saturday night, as I was just about to get the kids into bed after a long day running around doing everything and anything, my phone lit up with a dun, dun DUHHHN! FROST ADVISORY! With panic in my mind and obviously all over my face, I looked at David and said, “What are we going to do???!”
You see, frost is by definition a farmer’s nightmare at this time of year. Frost is a thin layer of ice on a solid surface, which forms from water vapor in an above freezing atmosphere coming in contact with a solid surface whose temperature is below freezing. For baby plants, like all of our ones planted OUTSIDE the greenhouse, this spells certain disaster, if not death.
Thankfully, I am the only ‘apocalyptic farmer’ in the family, and David calmly ran out to cover as much as he could with old tarps and some of the straw we have used to mulch. Low and behold… there was no frost. In the clear, we dodged a bullet, right? Wrong.
Sunday evening had a definite nip in the air, and as we waited diligently for that frost advisory like the night before, it never came. We rolled the dice and didn’t cover the gardens.
I have been getting up early before everyone a couple days a week, to go and work in the gardens to get as much as I can get done, before I switch into mum-mode. It is quite lovely. Monday morning was not lovely. The thermometer in the greenhouse read 4oC, but outside it is always cooler. I took a deep breath, which I could actually see and did a walk around to assess the damage. Thankfully I hadn’t planted any of the outside tomatoes yet, so they were all comfortable and cozy inside, but our zucchini, summer squash and winter squashes did not fare so well. Many are now blackened from frost-burn and it is debatable whether or not they’ll pull through.
I went home that morning, poured a coffee, hopped onto our seed providers website and ordered more seed. Why? Because this is what we do as farmers. We face adversities that we think we can control, or at least anticipate, everyday. Sometimes we come out on top, some days we simply don’t. We have two choices on those days we don’t: throw in the towel, admit defeat and call it quits or try again. Fortunately for us, a packet of zucchini seeds is much easier to replace than the almost 200 acres of corn & soybeans we have planted. We actually were lucky, but for that morning it sure didn’t feel that way.
We’ll plant again and hopefully the seeds have a better go. For now, I think I’ll keep my comments about the weather to myself and speak well of my fickle friend, Ms.MotherNature.