Monday, April 23, 2007

To Plant Or Not To Plant

There may be many more important issues being discussed in the Borders, Scotland, or even the UK as a whole but in our house, when to plant the tomatoes in the poly tunnel is way out front. It's not just as trivial as it sounds, because there are echoes of the great global warming debate involved. The very warm weather of week ago not only helped bring things on in the greenhouse more quickly, but it also plays tricks on the brain.

"I'm sure we planted the tomatoes in the poly tunnel earlier than this last year." Said I.
"No, it's too cold over night, they need to stay warmer than 10 degrees." Said the head gardener (RHS trained no less).
"They'll be fine." Was my typically optimistic ill informed retort. "Look in your garden diary."
"We didn't plant them until May." It said in the diary; she was right again!

Interestingly our garden is at about 700 feet and things are always a couple of weeks behind Duns, which is probably at 200 feet. We are surrounded by hills, which rise up to around 1200 feet in our immediate sight. In the 1500s the abbey at Kelso had monastic farms in the Lammermuir Hills and grew corn and barley on the tops of these hills. I'm not for a minute saying that man isn't affecting the scale of global warming, but there is clearly something cyclical in the whole affair.

The compromise on the tomato front has been to pot up three varieties and put them in the poly tunnel as an experiment. We've got another thirty to forty plants so disaster will be averted even if they get 'knocked back' (a gardener's technical term) in the next few weeks.

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