Frost...pick or wait till Freeze?

lisa11310(z5 MI)October 1, 2010

Hi there, I am a bird and pond fourum member with a tomato question. I am in West Michigan. We have lots of tomatoes still growing (green). We are supposed to get frost for the next 2 nights the lows expected 38, then we should have another week or two of fairly nice weather. Should I pick them before the frost or will they be ok until a hard freeze?

Thanks!

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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Can you cover them with sheets? 38 is iffy. The parts that freeze will be ruined. Cities are warmer so if you are in a valley in the country, you could get a frost. I have the same situation and I am gambling that my tender plants will make it this time.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 4:08PM
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vikingkirken(6b)

Pull out the sheets and milk jugs of hot water! I do that every year to get my tomatoes and peppers through early frosts.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 4:09PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

If you're not going to cover them then check them in the morning before the sun comes up. If there's frost on the leaves spray it off with water.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 4:49PM
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gardningscomplicated(southeast michigan - 5b or 6?)

I'm in southeast Michigan, and wondering the same thing. Right now I'm thinking this will just be a close call, but won't kill my plants. But I'm keeping an eye on the forecasts at NOAA.gov. I may spray the leaves with water, like taz said, if it starts looking like frost. I'm also wondering if a fan would help during the coldest part of the morning, since frost usually happens when it's not windy. I have too many to cover them all.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 11:07PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

Yes a fan will help. That is what many commercial growers use.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 11:16PM
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gardningscomplicated(southeast michigan - 5b or 6?)

Thanks taz. I may have a lot of really nice tomatoes in the next couple weeks, if I can just get them through the next couple days.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 11:49PM
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forpityssake

I just went and covered some of my plants with row cover. The wind is gettin' up underneath it & blowing it around, sooooo...I gotta go do sumpin' else to it. LOL!

They've only gotta get thru the next 3 nights & most of the big ones will ripen within a week.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 6:06PM
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ljpother(3a)

I used to leave them until the first light frost. It made it easier to find the tomatoes. Then two years ago the first frost was a hard frost. I lost most of them.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 8:31PM
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tomakers(SE MA Zone 5/6 or ?)

You can always irrigate them. That will stop them from freezing. IF you have overhead irrigation.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 6:27AM
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ericjs

I've been trying to make mine last as long as possible too, keeping an eye on the weather reports. But last night a new worry seized me:

Since tomatoes turn mealy in the fridge...is there some temperature, less cold then frost, which will make them turn mealy on the vine, or otherwise negatively affect their texture?

(And if not, why not? What exactly causes the fridge mealiness phenomenon?)

Eric

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 12:02PM
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hendricus(SWMichigan)

There was another thread on late green tomatoes where you put them in a picnic cooler with an apple and they will ripen slowly. That's what I'm trying right now.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 3:21PM
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ediej1209(5 N Central OH)

We cover during light frosts then pull everything before the first hard frost, unless it sneaks up on us. We wrap the greenies in newspaper and put them in a cardboard box in a cool area and check them every few days to see what's ripening. We tried the "pull the plants and hang them upside down" thing one year but it didn't work real well for us.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 8:29PM
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