Young plants under grow lamps

And lead us not into temptation

The “Ice Saints” in the South of France.

No, there are (usually) no more sub-zero temperatures in May or even in April here in Capestang. February and March offer many days with warm sun and 20+ ℃. And it can feel physically painful to NOT start sowing your tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, melons, etc.

So I succumbed again. And most likely failed again. I sowed towards the end of February and everything came up well under the growing lamps. I put some plants outside toward the end of March because temperatures were forecast to stay around 15 or even 20+ ℃ in the coming weeks. But alas, the Tramontane has returned and brought down temperatures to a max of 15℃ and a minimum of 4℃ some nights until the end of April.

I’ve tried plastic plant bells but I would have to keep putting them up at night and taking them down during the day so the plants don’t suffocate when the hot sun shines on them. And some of the plants are already too big to fit. I’ve kept a reserve of plants in a plastic “serre” on the terrace so I can replace some and starters are not that expensive right now at the garden center.
But it’s definitely not worth the rush and I should just learn to wait until end of March before sowing summer vegetables. Hopefully next year I’ll remember and re-read this article…

Addendum 24 May:
The weather has been up and down with unusual amounts of rain and occasional cold single-digit night temperatures until very recently. Besides one cucumber plant that turned very pale and that I have replaced all plants have come through and the bell peppers are fruiting already! The tomatoes have turned a healthy green and are growing well and the eggplant had no problems at all. They were all on the east side of the potager in the shelter of a wall and therefore not – or less – exposed to the cold NW-wind.
Some beans developed brown spots on their leaves and took a long time to start growing, others are already growing up their stakes.
So it appears to be definitely worth the risk of planting early.


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