Covering tomatoes during a cold snap

04.03.13
Hello... during a few days of spring we bought/planted some sturdy 8-10" high tomato plants. No fruit, no flowering. Then we had 2" of snowfall! Fortunately we covered them (milky colored heavy plastic & stakes) beforehand & they did well. Snow is gone now, they've been covered 2 days. Yesterday I opened it up for a few hours on one end for air only/no sun. Skies are very cloudy still & rain coming tonight & over next couple of days.

Question: Do I keep them covered --OR NOT? Day temps are only in the high 40s-mid 50s/some wind. When it rains it'll be a cold rain. Are they OK covered up until Monday when temps even out?

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    How cold are the nights supposed to be? The plastic should not hurt them unless the sun really pops out warm. I think I would leave it on them otherwise. It is really still too cold for the tomatoes outside. I was a little suprised to see them for sale.
  • Julie
    Julie Searcy, AR
    Yeah me too! But we all thought the warm weather was here to stay. Last year we had them in the ground at this point (central AR). Tonight will be in the 40s. But Sun, Mon,Tues, are in the 50s/day and freezing at night. I'll cover them those nights,
  • Douglas Hunt
    Douglas Hunt New Smyrna Beach, FL
    I would definitely keep them covered, and I'm almost thinking you should dig them up and bring them inside. It is going to be a challenge to bring them through multiple freezes.
  • J
    J North Bend, WA
    Next time try using landscape fabric around the plants instead of plastic. Two seasons ago I did a garden for a friend who suggested we try the landscape fabric to plant tomatoes early.. .(We are in the Seattle burbs).. We put three stakes in the
  • Julie
    Julie Searcy, AR
    Thanks everybody. I'm so bummed right now because starting overnight the cold, cold wind picked up and blew the plastic down on them, and ripping the plastic off of the stakes & onto the tomatoes. I attempted to fix it this morning, in the blistering
  • Julie
    Julie Searcy, AR
    And thank you J, that's great advice!!
  • Douglas Hunt
    Douglas Hunt New Smyrna Beach, FL
    Julie, despite your luck the last two years, tomatoes should never go in the ground before your average last frost date. For you, that's early April. You can find you last frost date by zip code here:
  • J
    J North Bend, WA
    Thanks so much Douglas.. going to forward the calendar to all my gardener friends!
  • Julie
    Julie Searcy, AR
    Yes, thanks Douglas! I thought our last freeze was earlier, oops. But as it went, I ended up digging up the tomatoes the day of my last entry. Brought them in, planted in good soil, and they looked so much better the next day. Good news is, despite the
  • Douglas Hunt
    Douglas Hunt New Smyrna Beach, FL
    I'm glad it worked, Julie. Purple Cherokee is a yummy tomato.
  • Julie
    Julie Searcy, AR
    Yes, it's one of my favorites! So is Pink Brandywine :) YUM! It's COLD DAY here today...3:30 pm and it's 39 degrees, windy, and rainy... glad they're in the house with us! But we have high 70s/low 80s coming this weekend, weird....
  • J
    J North Bend, WA
    Today, 4/3.. I saw the pop up hamper bought at Big Lots for covering plants! What a creative and awesome idea!.. And..it folds flat to store for winter! This is pretty cool. I think the landscape fabric idea will bow to this one .. this year!
Julie
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