Any advice for a couple of cold nights?

tomatonut(9a FL)October 27, 2008

Hi all:

For the first time I am trying to grow a second crop of tomatoes and they are doing great (lots of fruit, some bug issues, and a few have ripened, but many plants have a way to go before they are ready to be picked).

In the next couple of days the nighttime temps will drop into the upper to mid 30s--not freezing, but certainly cold for tomatoes. What should I expect to happen? I know in the summer when the temps go above 90 the season is pretty much over, but what happens if nighttime lows dip below 40 for a few hours? Should I cover or leave them be and let nature take its course? Thanks for the advice.

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Arghh! i'm anxiously waiting for answers too. We're supposed to dip into the 30's tonight and was wondering what to do. So far i'm thinking of just throwing a bed sheet over them. I really don't want to lose any right now. After a horrible unproductive summer, some look really pitiful but are producing pretty good and 2 of them have really taken off and are putting out like crazy. Now i've got some really good sized beauties on the vines and i really don't want to lose a single one! Somebody help us!!! lol!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2008 at 2:31PM
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When frost is due and I want to extend the season (in Spring as well) I always take a tarp or clear plastic and cover the tomato plants and for that little extra bit of insurance, I put a 100W light inside the tarp area (not in contact with the plant) to add a little heat. Doing this over the years has resulted in zero frost damage.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2008 at 3:39PM
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lakedallasmary(8 - North Central TX)

If is my experience that in coll nights above freezing the tomatoes fall off the vine. I have been covering my plants any night weather forecast is below 50. Tomatoes hate weather under 50. Not sure what temps the tomatoes start to fall off.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2008 at 3:47PM
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suze9(z8b Bastrop Co., TX)

Cover if you can as others have mentioned. Agreed that lighting inside the cover if you can do it would help as well. Even strings of xmas lights, etc. If container plants and they can be moved, then put them in a shed or the garage. I'll also add to make sure your plants aren't on the dry side, as well hydrated plants tend to take cooler or near freezing temps better.

I'm in the same boat right now. Supposed to get cold here tonight - weather underground says possible low of 34, nat'l weather svc says a little warmer, guess I'll find out.

Did put all the container plants in the shed, too lazy/tired of 08 gardening to make the effort to cover or protect the ones in raised beds, but best of luck to those who do. :) However, I did plant two plants per variety for fall crop, tho - with the 2nd plant going in containers (which as I said are now in the shed).

    Bookmark   October 27, 2008 at 8:40PM
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suze9(z8b Bastrop Co., TX)

Even buckets or large bottles of warm/hot water inside a cover or even just set close to the plants can help a little, as they give off heat.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2008 at 8:43PM
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azruss(8b Tucson)

The others are right, but I would worry more about *consistent* cold. I'm betting that your tomatoes will be fine for a few chilly (above freezing) hours, but I'd still try to protect them as much as I could. What happens will also depend on the varieties you have planted, but I doubt that in FL you have chosen cold tolerant varieties. Good luck. I'd love to know what happens!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2008 at 9:34PM
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Yay! I'm happy to report that i did not lose a single tomato! not even on the ones that were'nt covered up. Hopefully we wont get anymore cold cold nights for awhile.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2008 at 11:06PM
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Last year my tomatoes covered under the trypod method lasted longer than the tomatoes covered on stakes, because their is more warm ground under the tripod.

See my Flicker photo's showing my covered tomatos. Bottom right photo. See my container tomato, first photo, that is on my porch now. Click the photo's to read the copy. )


Here is a link that might be useful: Tomatoes under trypod, covered.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2008 at 8:00PM
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