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Green Hills

A tough, cold morning

We've been having fairly erratic weather this season in Charlotte. Warm day in shorts, cold day in winter gear. Up and down, back and forth. This isn't terribly uncommon here, been here my whole life, but for it to be so consistently all over the place and for so long (2+ months now after January when it's generally just cold) isn't common.

I'm an optimist, and as so I'm happy to "risk" a few packets of seeds to try and get a jump on a few early spring edibles. Carrots, beets, radishes, mustard greens, etc. The stuff you really need to just broadcast sow directly. We also have a greenhouse that is "barely" heated - a single small space heater really there just to keep the inside from freezing. When we had a week long lower-than-freezing spell in January it couldn't keep up, lost a few plants and had to move our citrus into the house. This is our first year with a greenhouse so we are learning - either heat it better or lower expectations of what can stay out there all year long.

The greenhouse is great for seedlings, we've started quite a few including other early spring veggies - 10 days ago I took broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts and put them in the ground from the greenhouse. These are cold hardy to a degree.

Back to the present: we weren't supposed to drop below freezing again in our recent long-view forecasts, and I check 2 or 3 sources daily to watch this. But we did, last night. We not only dropped to 30 or so, but it was combined with freezing rain and started early in the evening and lasted until sunrise.

I didn't want to go out there this morning, didn't want to see what I expected to see. The stuff in the ground, it's frozen. Looks OK, but later today and tomorrow will really be the test for how well they made it. I actually suspect they will though they'll probably be dormant for a few extra days. The greenhouse made it too - the litmus test in there are the tomato starts. They'll wither quickly if they freeze - the thermometer this morning inside the greenhouse was 39 - 10 degrees higher than outside, a level over the outside temps which it seems to consistently remain. Tomatoes were fine.

I guess the biggest problem we are having with these consistently cold nights is germination for the seeds we've planted inside the greenhouse. They are just reeeeaaaallllllyyyy slow in coming out and I suspect some aren't going to so we'll have to restart some varieties of peppers, eggplant, etc.

The forecast for the next 10 days doesn't show a freeze drop, high 30's nightly, but we'll have to see how accurate that is. My spring fever this year is higher than ever, this weather is a huge factor but our "new" garden is too. We moved here last year late in the season and barely got our garden in on time - looks like we'll have a short window for an early garden this year too.

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