We knew we were risking calamity by planting tender annuals this early but the down side seemed so slight, that is, we’d merely replant, and the upside so great, that is, we’d have tomatoes as early as possible. Calamity struck and for the most part, it wasn’t as calamitous as it might have been. The night before last our garden suffered a pretty hard frost. It didn’t freeze deeply enough to kill the kale or the broccoli which was no surprise. And in fact even the squash seemed to pull through without much damage. The most vulnerable plants were the basil and the tomatoes and we spread a little protection over them. The tomatoes in the juice jar cloches were still OK. Over one bed, we made a tent of clear plastic and that kept those tomatoes and basil plants happy. Another area was covered with a plain cotton sheet, a technique that has worked for us in the past. This time, however, we lost nearly all the plants underneath this sheet. I admit when I went out in the morning that sheet was covered in such a thick layer of frost that it nearly crackled as I lifted it. All tolled, it looks like we lost only a half dozen plants, mostly San Marzano Tomatoes.
Recovery won’t be very rough. Tomorrow is the mid-week Farmer’s Market so we can pick up another tray or two and tuck the plants into the gaps. Our favorite weather website suggests a warming trend so maybe that was the last frost we’ll have on this end of the growing season.