Here in Texas, I will be transplanting my tomatoes out into the garden today. I know the temperatures will be 44 at night, but I plan to cover them during the night. The daytime temperatures are 70 . Some will think this is a little early, but I have to start them asap because of the early 90's we get in May. What do you think Gymgirl?
A good cover for early transplanted tomatoes is a gallon milk jug. Cut the bottom off the jug, leave the cap off.
Just set it over the plant, put a little soil around to hold it in place. When the plant comes out the top, remove. It will add earliness also.
Mine were in last Saturday. Planted some for my neighbor across the street last Sunday (my seedlings). Last year, she grew fantastic tomatoes (again, my seedlings), and she never covers the tomatoes unless temps are going down into freezing temps for more than just a couple hours.
I watched a local landscaper on TV this morning. He said that they encourage the Houston growers to get their tomatoes in between mid-Jan and mid-Frbruary, or they run the risk of not getting tomatoes to mature before our heat wave sets in.
I knew I wasn't crazy -- and, neither are you!
Go for it. Just have your frost contingencies in place!
Is there a sign that you're tomatoes give you when they have hardened off sufficiently and are ready to be planted out? I have had mine outside during different weather conditions but only for three or four hours and not on consecutive days. Does that matter?
I also didn't leave my tomatoes out all night before planting, because it was too cold.
I will suggest you keep protecting them at nigth after planting outside. I have been covering the hoop house with blankets (the moving blanket kind) every night since I transplanted out. The nights in DFW have been pretty cold, but the days are just sunny and wonderful.
My tomatoes are really looking good.
We have two more nights to worry ...
Hrp50: My tomatoes had been outside for about a week, out on the Patio, & brought in at night. They were about 6" high, & lots of leaves, & healthy looking & strong. Thats when I decided it was time to set them out into the garden. Of course, I covered them with milk jugs. They are doing fine.