Nighttime Temps For Tomatoes

brownthumb65(8B Florida)April 17, 2010

Ok, I've got the gardening bug, and was wondering if I am wrong about the evening temperatures for my Tomatoes.

Isn't it true that you should wait for the evening temperatures to be more than mid 50's to plant outside?

I am in zone 8B (northern FL), but in the evening it is still in the 50's!

Thanks!

Halime

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junktruck

oh yeah you should b fine / ive already got some in up here and there doing fine

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 12:37PM
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tania_in_vancouver(7b PNW)

Halime,

I leave tomato seedlings outside when night temperatures are above 45F. They should do fine at night temps in low 50F range!

Tania

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 1:16PM
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suburbangreen(8)

They are talking about averages. Tomatoes are pretty tough. They can stand the 40's as long as it is not for an extended period of time and it is warming into the 60s and 70s during the daytime.

Ground temperature is important. The plants won't put on much growth if the soil temperature is in the low 50's and definitely won't in the 40s. You can warm the soil by using a black plastic mulch or by building raised beds. By this point in your zone though, the soil has probably warmed up pretty nicely. Another thing is that the top few inches of the soil may be warm while the next few inches are much cooler. In order to get earlier growth, some people that plant in the ground in the South trench their tomatoes or plant at an angle to take advantage of the warmer soil nearer the surface. The first year I planted in ground I planted deep and a little early(mid-March) and then covered the plants with a heavy layer of grass and leaves for mulch which insulated the plants preventing the soil from warming up. Due to the cool soil temps the plants didn't grow hardly at all for a month.

Another tip. The large beefsteak tomatoes may poop out pretty early where you are at. Go with at least some medium-sized and cherry tomatoes. They can continue to set fruit in higher temperatures.

Again though, by this time you are ok to plant. Please check your state extension office for more details on planting times and growing tips for your state.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 1:21PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Agree the mid-40s are fine and in your zone they need to be planted ASAP if you are going to beat the high heat and humidity period. Most of the Florida growers say that is their main problem since it means no fruit set.

You might want to check over on the Florida Gardening forum here as I think you'll find many of them have already planted out.

Good luck!

Dave

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 1:40PM
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star_stuff(Greensboro NC 7a)

50's, perfectly fine. But 40's I'm not so sure...

Last week our lows were in the 40s for few nights straight. Unfortunately, I left my tomatoes out the first night, and two of them suffered foliage damage from the cold. I figured they would have been okay, because they were near the building, and protected by surrounding nandinas. Not so. Luckily the poor things lived and are recovering nicely.

Our lows will drop into 40s again for the next several nights, so I will definitely bring my plants inside this time, rather than risk it.

Caroline

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 6:11PM
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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)

caroline,

I think the temps swinging into the lows will affect plants in pots more so than those in the ground. The ground won't change temp quickly whereas a pot will.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 3:51PM
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brownthumb65(8B Florida)

Thank you all. Everyone on here is very kind.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 11:21PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

It is not just the short-lived night low, but more importantly it is the soil temperature.
Case in point:
Tonight our low will be 43F. Day highs average has been around 75F for days.
The soil temp has climbed well over 65F. What is going to happen to my mators out there tonight?
I am not worried at all if their head cool off a bit as long as their feet are warm.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 12:30AM
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