Monday, February 13, 2012

Tiny Miracles

It was a stressful weekend in the greenhouse.

I know. Sounds likes an oxymoron, right?

Trust me. Whoever thinks that greenhouses are a blissful respite of peace and tranquility never owned a greenhouse for business purposes. Those calm, soul-rejuvenating glass structures are known as “conservatories,” and I'm pretty certain the owners of conservatories employ horticulturalists to ensure their plants don't freeze.

I, on the other hand, tangled myself in wires and extension cords, power outlets and gas tanks, in the hopes that my green babies would survive the 20 degree temperatures this weekend.

Who knew that I'd need an electrical engineering degree to own an heirloom plant nursery?

Fortunately, as the temperatures plummeted, my fabulous technical support—a.k.a. Peter—intervened.

It kills me that there are certain things, like wiring greenhouses and lugging 120lb tanks of propane, that I can't manage on my own. Honestly, I just want to grow plants and help other people learn to grow their own food. Why does all of this technical junk need to interfere?

After all, the business of growing plants hardly feels like a business. It's more like an amazing feat of magic. To take a tiny seed...

...turn it into an adorable green baby...

...nurture it into a six-foot giant... produce stunning, delicious fruit...

...that becomes dinner..., THAT is magic. I know some curmudgeon will argue that it's, oh, something as banal as biology.

And scientifically, I obviously understand that a seed becomes a fruit-producing plant.

But when that first, tiny sprout unfurls in the toasty greenhouse while Arctic winds blast outside...


I held my breath throughout the weekend, watching the thermometer, hoping the heater could keep up with the dropping temperatures. After all, nestled in the greenhouse are—literally--thousands of seedlings. My inventory for the season. My babies. 


So far, our system is working. A back-up electrical heater is giving an extra boost of heat to help the propane, and we're relaxing a bit, especially since Peter just had the big tank refilled today. We're expecting some more chilly nights, and maybe even a touch of a “winter event”--which, in South Carolina, is a major happening.

Still, the green babies are toasty, getting their first real leaves and teasing me with the aroma of basil and tomatoes.

Only 35 days until spring...

Stay warm!

XO ~ Julie


  1. I hope to be in Charleston in the third week of March. Until then, your photos will tide me over. We don't have 3 feet of snow on the ground here in upstate NY - such a mild winter, but your post put the green hunger into me big time. Enjoy your GBBD!

  2. I think you are about a month ahead of us weather wise. I love this post because I can relate. I do grow my veggies on a smaller scale and in a smaller greenhouse. Great pictures!