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The Tenacious Gardener

Gardening is definitely an exercise in trial and error with a little patience sprinkled in for good measure. Last year I built a greenhouse with old windows with the goal of being able to harvest tomatoes year round. This was definitely a lofty goal considering that our winters here in North Georgia see temps in the 20's. My greenhouse produced an abundance of veggies and herbs throughout the summer, but the true test was growing in the winter. One of my tomato plants grew into a monster that mimicked Audrey from the Rocky Horror Picture show. She grew to the ceiling of the greenhouse and took down two of my grow lights in the process. I trimmed her back three times and thought by the fall that she would stop producing, but Audrey kept on growing. As winter approached and temperatures started to get below freezing, I invested in a propane heater to see if I could keep her happy. The cost of the heater was $200, propane $50.00, harvesting tomatoes in the winter... well, not sure I would call it priceless, but it was an achievement. So, today I harvested the last of Audrey's delicious fruit and savored every bite. The tomatoes weren't as sweet as they were in the summer, but they still tasted much better than store bought tomatoes this time of year. I'm continuing my winter growing experiment with Brussel sprouts, broccoli, Chinese cabbage and arugula. I have retired the propane heater due to the expense and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will see veggies sprouting from the green leaves shortly. Every day I go out to the greenhouse and check the progress and utter kind, loving words to my plants. I don't believe that I'm saving much by growing my own veggies in the winter when you think about the cost of grow lights and heating, but it's the thrill of harvesting in improbable conditions that keeps me motivated.


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