I started my tomato, pepper and melon seeds last week, days before our April snowstorm, howling winds and six inches of snow. We’d erected a little 6 X 8 greenhouse with a tubular frame on the south side of the house, and I had all my flats inside. On a sunny day, even with cool temperatures, the inside of that tiny greenhouse was hot! And I thought it could hold its own at night with normal April lows. But what to do with such a forecast as this? And lows in the twenties? We were scrambling for solutions.
We hung a troublelight inside with a hundred watt bulb, which by itself will throw off an amazing amount of heat. But I feared that wasn’t enough. Then my husband dug out a little ceramic heater we weren’t using anymore, plugged it into the troublelight, and turned it on medium. We waited for the storm.
The next morning I looked out the bedroom window with trepidation to see if my greenhouse was still there. The plastic sides were dripping with condensation and the only snow on it was a wet layer across the center arch. I went outside, unzipped the door, and ducked inside to check the temperature. It was an OK fifty-five degrees. Not bad, considering the winds were hard out of the north and visibility was nil. Everything else was covered with snow, including the white pine sapling I’d planted the day before.
We have been keeping the heater and light on around the clock, waiting for the temperature outside to return to normal. Yesterday, the sun came back out and the greenhouse got up to ninety degrees. Yikes! We are new at this. We opened the little window for a cooling effect.
And then, the miracle—a tiny green spike unfolded from the dirt, a Brandywine tomato.
This morning the greenhouse is alive with a host of fragile green plants and the sun is shining.