Who said vegetable farming would be easy?

What does a determined farmer do when warm and chilly weather conditions are in competition?

Between the months of May and September, I will share my vegetable farming activities in a city. The step-by-step information will focus on garden preparation, seeds/seedlings, vegetable tending, harvesting, storage, food preparation and consumption. I bought seeds/seedlings in the first blog post.

Today, I looked at the seedlings and wondered if they would have been better off, if left at the garden center. Since May 8th, we have experienced erratic temperatures; shifting on a daily and hours basis. Within seven days, we have enjoyed a high of 27 degrees Celsius, and a low of 3 degrees.

Photo: adapted from the TheWeatherNetwork

Photo: adapted from the TheWeatherNetwork

On some days, it started bright and warm, and changed to cold and rainy within hours. The result was that, left outside, the seedlings would benefit from one hour of sunshine, then suffer from three hours of cold, wind and heavy rain.

What did the shifting weather conditions mean to my vegetable farming plan?

Bring my sunshine along, watch and hope, or count steps while carrying the seedlings outdoors and indoors?

  • I spent time carrying the seedlings out and back indoors, in line with the rise and fall in temperatures. The strategy only works if there is someone at home throughout the day.
  • On the days when the promise of sunshine was close to none, I kept the seedlings indoors, with the lights on. The sad part is that the seedlings have not stopped turning yellow, losing the green colouring matter, an indication of lack of sunshine.

What went wrong?

I did a quick search to understand why the seedlings had changed colour, from green to lime green. I established that the green leafy Kale (Sukuma Wiki) I bought, grows well in 18-25 degrees Celsius, needs at least six hours of daily sunshine, and is susceptible to frost. Harvesting starts in 25 days.

What next?

Kale is my vegetable to fight for; rich in Minerals, Iron, Vitamin A and C. 

Are you a weather-dependent small scale farmer? Ever encountered the problem of erratic changes in temperatures? What strategies did you use to overcome the challenge? 

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