early tomatoes and plastics

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I 'm really believing this is probably redundant to many however Im' wondering about some experiences some of you may have had with plastic mulches and covers.
This somewhat kind of'pushes the envelope", It seems while using a red cover ,I've been notcing freeze drying of soil , more definite, While using the cans and baggies I was covering one of them with a red folgers can for freeze protection. As is covering the plant in the can with a baggie over the can and the red cover over that.' SAME THING I KNOW'

so if some you cover outdoor early plants or if you use some these for mulches It would be helpful to have experienced information while I'm considering ideals.

It seems with the red cover somthing about the freeze drying in the space between the covers is allowing for some very low temperature protection.

I've heard many times "no difference " about plastic as mulch, however having read many times that some using hotcaps giving information here may '(AND PROBABLY DO) have usful advice.
As the hotkaps come in many different colors also , I was wondering about that also,. as only having used the red hotkaps myself .

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

O' K' where I'm going with this is natural water collection like dehumidifiers ,water collectors and the like.
Thinking it would be interesting to have, something of such, for the garden,how about some of you?

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I assume that some temperature well above freezing is actively bad for tomato seedlings - like it hurts them or slows their future growth.

Some higher temperature would be where the young plants actively grow and get bigger.

Some in-between temperature would just put them on "hold" - not actively growing, but not damaged either. say they "could" be planted out then, but they would not benefit, and p;robably should have been started later.

What would you say those temperatures are?
Nigthtime lows, or daytime highs, or average?
Does the thresholdtemperature where they start to grow and mature vary from variety to variety?

(I'm not talking about blossoming and setting fruit or ripening, just young plants growing in size and maturity.)

I heard that night below 50F were "bad" for tomatoes, so I left mine in pots and carried them indoors during nights predicted to go below 50. Maybe that is the "harmfull" temperature?

However, my plants didn't grow for several weeks even after nights stayed above 50 and I left them in the ground. At that point, is it daytime highs or nightime lows that detyermine whether or not there is good growth?

I saw one claim that they can be planted "any time after the last spring frost date", but doubted it.

Another source said (paraphrasing):
Plant tomato seedlings after nights stay consistently above 55 degrees. The soil then is warm ... Tomato plants require day time temperatures of 70 to 90 degrees.

Agropedia was more helpful, it said:

Temperature below 10C and above 38C adversely affects plant tissues thereby slow down physiological activities. It thrives well in temperature 10C to 30C with optimum range of temperature is 21-24C.

(Converting C to F, I got this ... presumably nights must stay above the low number, and days stay below the high number.)
"Adverse": below 50F or above 100F
"thrives": 50F to 86F
"optimum": 70F to 75

I also saw this:
Blossom drop can occur if night temperatures fall below 55 degrees F, or when days are above 90 degrees F and nights above 76 degrees F.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I notice my plants grow much faster and just better when the soil temps have warmed up. I've even notice a big difference in the size of the root structure in my plants that are put in the ground after all chance of a freeze has passed. I'm now beginning to wonder if this is why my plants never stop setting fruit (yes, they slow down) even when the temps are really high.?

I've also noticed that they set fruit much sooner and the fruit ripens quicker on the plants that are put out later. So there is a noticeable shorter DTM with my plants that are put out later. I already have 3 fruit on my Moneymaker plant that has been in the ground a little less then 3 weeks. I know this may take away from the development of the root system but with 35+ plants and a few more to go, it doesn't really matter to me. My New Big Dwarf is doing great also.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> I've also noticed that they set fruit much sooner and the fruit ripens quicker on the plants that are put out later. So there is a noticeable shorter DTM with my plants that are put out later.

Ah-hah! So cool weather CAN put a lasting slow-down on tomatoes!

>> when the soil temps have warmed up.

That makes sense. So I need to think about high and low AIR temps, but also SOIL temp.

>> put in the ground after all chance of a freeze

That reminds me that, for p-lanning purposes, we really can't predict future weather - all we can really control is the DATE when we start seeds, and the date when we set them out. That, plus using plastic film, shade and mulch to warm things up or keep them cool.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Well here's the tomato plant that that came ok after being grown way to early. It has a small bloom developing and won't be long before it has tomatoes

Thumbnail by juhur7
Shullsburg, WI(Zone 5a)

I planted some Early Girl tomatoes last year on 12 April here in Wisconsin. I had to cover them many nights to keep them from freezing in April. Didn't notice any difference in the growth or fruit output as a result. Also did some green beans the same way. About the only noticeable difference there was the beans seemed to keep producing much longer than normal!


Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

In the various places I've had gardens, I've had to adapt to local conditions. One can stretch the boundaries, but one cannot change the boundaries. Some soils warm faster than others even when other influences are equal.

Cold, wet springs will give a different result than warm wet springs. In cold, wet ground, many plants will not thrive. In warm, wet ground they might.

Personally, I watch the weather forcast prediction for the next week, walk outside and feel the air, pick up a handful of soil and say: I'ts time to sow (whatever).

Last Friday something told me it was time to sow peas. Out of curiosity, I looked up the date I had sown them last year - SAME DATE! Because I was going to be busy over the weekend, I waited until Monday to sow the seeds.

Our ancestors had no calendars, TV, or seed packets to tell them when to sow - they learned the signs of nature and respected them.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I started this thread thinking about the the last frost here ,usually it happens the last week in may , It usually does not frost for a few weeks and then drops on my efforts in the garden and drops a many a plant also. This year I might try a few early with cozy coats , but, it still is ,that last frost keeps destroying three or more weeks of my growing season ,
True it is, and without, the only true safe date to plant warm season crops is June 1 st.
I am , as you, well aware that nature rules ,..

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Bee I thought you weren't planting a garden this year? Lol

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

let me know if you will need WALL O WATER (=cozy coats). I have lots in my garage. You can make me an offer.
I used some once and some never ... they are not for my climate. But I think they are perfect for yours. Just d-mail me.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Bee I thought you weren't planting a garden this year?

I'm not, but I had leftover pea seeds, and they said: "Sow me, sow me" - so I sowed them!

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Oh no! Your seeds are talking to you...that only happens to people from England, I think. : )

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