Feature: 6 Steps to Protect Tomato Plants During Cold Nights
Image: Masters of Horticulture
As nights begin to cool, the big question for tomato gardeners is this: should you take steps to protect tomatoes on the vine or should you pick them?
One fact is certain: tomatoes do NOT like to be cold. If you’re eager to continue to harvest fresh tomatoes well into autumn, you can do so with these simple steps.
Use a thermometer. Your local forecast will differ from what takes place in your backyard or on your patio. Set a thermometer at plant level to monitor air temperatures that will directly impact your tomato plants.
Cover plants.When frost or
even temperatures (mid-30s or even 40ºF) are in the forecast for overnight, cover your tomato plants with clear plastic or a tarp. If you face an extended cold pattern, consider using quality frost protection each night.
Use light. Set up a work light – or even a string of Christmas lights – underneath the tarp or plastic to get plants a bit of extra heat.
Water plants. Well-hydrated plants tolerate cooler or near-freezing temperatures better than dry ones.
Give plants daylight. Remove coverings in the morning or once temperatures rise over 50ºF to give them extra light and warmth.
Grow cold-tolerant tomato varieties.If you live in a northern area, have a short growing season, or are growing a second crop in one season, then consider choosing early tomato varieties or varieties that tolerate cold.
Tomato Fun! Channel Your Inner Gardener at Halloween
Image: Blueberry Junkie
Tomato lovers and gardeners can steal the show on Halloween by dressing as a tomato or other fruits or vegetables. It’s easy and fun to make a tomato costume! Dressing up as a tomato is unusual and creative. Invite siblings or friends to dress up as tomatoes, too, so you can make a “bushel.”
To make a tomato costume you will need just a few items: an extra-large red sweatshirt, green or red sweatpants, green felt, material for stuffing, string, and a hot glue gun.