Does Cold Weather Affect Tomatoes (Not Freezing Cold)

eahamel(9a)March 2, 2013

I read a while back that when the weather gets cold, but is above freezing, it can slow tomatoes down and they won't produce nearly as well as they would if they were grown in warmth. If this is true, this may be why I haven't had good tomato production the last few years - our cold weather comes a few days at a time, and tomatoes are always available before it's really warm.

We have already started planting for the spring here in Houston, and I have several tomatoes in the ground, and I'm covering those at night. I have some still in pots and I'm bringing those into the garage at night. Same with peppers, those are coming in at night, too. A bed is ready for them, but I hesitate to plant them since it's been in the 40's at night recently, and is still in the 40's today, though it's after 11 am.

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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

tomatoes need 50 degrees or above. lower temps set back the plants permanently.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 5:08PM
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That's a shame. Our winters are off and on, and most nurseries have them already, and only one that I know of keeps them inside a greenhouse that's heated. It was about 45 last night and will be probably below 40 tonight. I have 5 planted, and am covering them at night with pots, and the rest are still in pots or seed trays, and I'm bringing them in at night. I'll see how those that are already planted do this spring. I'm tired of not getting more than a few tomatoes.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 7:52PM
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Bets(z6A S ID)

Tomato plants are susceptible to chilling injury at temperatures between 32 and 42 F. Chilling can cause stunted growth, wilting, surface pitting or necrosis of foliage, and increased susceptibility to disease. Low soil temperatures also stunt plant growth and prevent root development. Temperatures below 50 F during flowering can interfere with pollination and result in catfacing of fruit.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 9:20AM
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We had absolutely no tomato crop last year because of weather fluctuations. By Sept. the weather settled down and the tomato plants grew huge and bushy but no tomatoes since our first frost is always in October..

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 9:27AM
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Time will also interact with temp to affect plant growth. Temps in the 40sF of short duration (few hours) usually aren't going to be that noticable in growth. I've had that happen dozens of times over the years in my greenhouses. If it occurs repeatedly or over longer intervals you can expect at least delayed harvest which is counter to your objective from earlier planting.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 3:20PM
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Thanks, everyone. I've repotted most of my tomatoes and will bring them indoors at night for a few more days, since we're having a cold front in a couple of days. I'm going to see what the ones that are already planting will do. I'm covering them with large pots at night.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 4:52PM
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