Sometimes, when I’m trying to explain the many merits of gardening, I describe the cultivation of plants as a quasi-religious force in my life. Sincerely. Hyperbole? Perhaps, but there’s much in the practice of planting and sowing, cultivating and composting, even weeding and pruning and grafting that underpins my worldview, informs my optimism, and provides a circular and self sustaining system of belief and practice. What constitutes a religion is a debate for another blog. But tossing this into the mix may help contextualize the significant ache I was veiling in my recent High Tunnel Hubris post.
I tried to remain matter-of-fact, sidestepping the debilitating discouragement that sidelined me for a day or two after a severe frost shocked dozens of the plants that I’d helped transplant.
So… when we jumpstarted our spring starts in the high tunnel, I was fueled with fervor and faith. We’d have tomatoes by the end of June!
But a severe frost reminded us that BLTs and gazpacho aren’t a matter of pipe dreaming alone. Yes, nature humbles.
No blame, except my own optimism. I understood the stakes. I understood the risks. And I understood the consequences. Although the perspective is pretty bleak, at this point, I’m tentatively hopeful that some of the tomatoes may recover. If the soil was warm enough, the roots may remain vital. If a sucker shoots in, we can cultivate it into a new plant. The prospect, of course, for tomatillos is less good. But I’m not prepared to give up yet. The possibility of new growth might yet eclipse the discouraging dieback we’re now witnessing. After all, I’m not aware of anyone who has ever died of optimism! (Source: High Tunnel Hubris)
And so I fell back on optimism. Pollyanna optimism. We left the cold-shocked tomato plants in the ground. And little by little *some* regrowth has occurred. A minority, but an inspiring minority of our zapped tomato plants have rebounded, sending up new growth as “suckers” that we’re endeavoring to cultivate into new stems, new productive tomato plants.
It’s still early, as you can see in today’s photographs. They may endure. They may thrive. They may produce a robust tomato crop. Or, they may not. But we’re tending them. Loving them. Believing in them. We’re fertilizing these resilient tomato plants with optimism. If fortune so chooses, we’ll have learned from our hubris *AND* we’ll be able to celebrate our wisening with the sweet tangy sacrament of Black Krim and Green Zebra tomatoes!