May 21st, 2019- SNOW.
I wouldn’t say that it is out of the question for Colorado to get snow this late but I personally have never witnessed snow past the 14th or so. Really, everywhere along the front range, folks have probably already put in their summer crops. Here in Pueblo, I would have put out my tomato and pepper plants by now if I hadn’t had a hunch and a hint from Accuweather. An hour north of here my daughters both got a good foot of snow. Here, we got a ton of rain (we are still high desert and very thankful for rain, even if it slightly floods the chicken coop) which turned to snow overnight and is now back to rain.
Thick blankets of slush are currently sliding down the outer greenhouse walls. Tonight will drop to 30 degrees. I may lose my pumpkins, beans, and corn that are all growing proudly in the beds. I may lose some of the flowering plants. And we will deal with losses as they come. But, in the greenhouse, cold steam fills the air. Peeking through the plastic I can see the tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers standing green and solid. I dare not open the door and blast them with cold air. I will probably bring everyone in tonight though. Just in case.
I am still experimenting with my new greenhouse. I have never had one before, so temperatures and humidity and all that are still a bit of a mystery. This is a kit from Home Depot. My friend generously bought it for me for my birthday. They run about $650 plus shipping. Not inexpensive. This particular greenhouse would have never stood up to a foot of snow at our old house, nor would it withstand the wind of the prairie. Tucked behind six foot fencing in the city in a mild climate, it does pretty good. I have to replace rogue pieces that fall off from time to time, but it is fulfilling its purpose of keeping plants safe.
The temperature varies from 32 degrees to 114. It baffles me. Maybe because it lets in all that beautiful sun without any harsh breezes that the plants sit in a happy state. I keep the seedlings on the second shelf of the greenhouse. The color was being bleached from their leaves on the top shelf. Watering every day to every other day keeps them happy. I cannot get my seeds to germinate in there. I speculate that they need individual cells that drain and are specific to starting seeds. My peppers are still in their plastic salad bin and I think they would love drainage as well in the greenhouse. But today, in their cold steam room, they are alive.
It does get super hot here and my soon-to-be son-in-law recommended shade cloth. If I planted a few tomatoes straight into the ground, would it boost production? If I started seed pods of fall crops right now, would they be ready to plant in August? (In Colorado, if a seed packet says it takes 90 days to mature, you can bet your apron strings that it means 120 days. Maybe the altitude?)
It is fun having a new tool for gardening. I can only say a prayer for my plants in the garden, but in the greenhouse, all is well.