[SeMissourian.com] Partly Cloudy ~ 82°F  
Severe Thunderstorm Warning
Thursday, May 26, 2016

Weather belies global warming

Sunday, April 15, 2007

It's all Al Gore's fault. Since I have been hearing so much about global warming, I keep moving up my planting dates for the garden. Another less honorable reason is that I like to have ripe tomatoes ahead of my neighbor down the street.

A week before the deep freeze hit, or what some people call "The Arctic Clipper" came in from the north, I bought eighteen tomato plants and planted them in the garden, knowing I was off to a good start. The plants had only been in the ground one week when dire predictions by the weather forecasters started flooding the airways and appearing in print.

I talked to my brother in Kansas City before the first night the really cold temperatures were predicted, and he told me how he had covered his tomato plants with plastic bags only to have six of them bite the dirt. By now I'm getting a little nervous, so I found a good use for the wire inside the yard signs that were around town during the last election.

I placed one of the wires over each of the tomato plants, and then installed a series of tarps running the length of the garden to protect the fragile tomatoes. The unused firewood came in handy to hold the edge of the tarp down. I had a bit of a flashback about then as I remembered movies where orange growers and grape growers would put out smudge pots in an effort to keep the frost out of the orchards.

So, I took an oversized candle and put it in a two-gallon coffee can. I then lit the candle and placed that underneath the canvas in an effort to keep the tomatoes warm. From a distance, it looked like there was a blue centipede in my garden with eighteen ribs outlined on the covering and a glowing light inside the tarp, giving off an eerie cast. The whole rig reminded me of the Chinese dragons they use in parades.

The first night went well enough and all the plants appeared to survive. Unfortunately, it was after the second night that Mother Nature gave me a dose of reality when she froze everything but the last four plants in the southernmost part of the garden.

I looked around town and saw many other people trying to save their gardens and their plants. William James Schafer may have ran out of bed sheets because he had most of his newly-planted trees covered in an attempt to ward off the cold.

All of this brings home the old adage, "You can't fool Mother Nature." The only people I know who are benefiting from this are the people who sell replacement plants.

Dick Hedges
Fort Scott Community College