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My old friend the min-max thermometer

Min-max thermometer on the hoophouse

Clearing a path to the hoophouse today, I turned the corner and noticed the original min-max thermometer. I don’t usually. It was one of the first bits of gear acquired in Year 1, when the reality of FROST in the garden was a complete and scary unknown. The thermometer records the lowest and highest temperature that it’s hit; you reset it by pushing the little red button. It’s been hanging on the same nail in the same spot for three or four years, more or less out of sight and mind except in spring and fall, when I check it first thing in the morning to see how cold an overnight cold snap really got. Lately, the min-max is not such a big deal. Each different section of the field, and the particular crop in it, reacts differently to each cold night, so the only way to know what’s happened is to walk around and check things out. And I have confidence in row cover. I still check the thermometer, but it’s not like spring in the first couple of years, when I’d bolt awake at 6:00 a.m. and 10 minutes later be walking through the chill and dewy wet grass, adrenaline pumping, waiting for the verdict from the min-max to see what new transplants may’ve been toasted. It was kinda cool to be reminded, out of the blue, how that’s changed. In the case of gardening, at least, the more you know, the easier going you get!



  1. Katie

    Gardening is the one thing that I’ve found most people can pick up really quickly. We’ve been doing this “for real” for about a year and a couple months, and we’ve come leaps and bounds just in that time!

  2. Robin

    I love the relaxed feeling, no worries, take it all in…then came this greenhouse. I’ll be glad when I relax with that. I’m keeping an eye out for how your heater works for you. I won’t heat the seedling house til early April.

  3. How true! This will be our third gardening season, but only our second starting from seed. Last year we fretted over everything, wondering if we’d watered too much or too little, or started things too early, of transplanted them too late. Now we’re like, “Eh, stick them in this pot … they’ll grow.”

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