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Any tip for putting tomatoes out early? — The Grow Network Community
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Any tip for putting tomatoes out early?

sherryosherryo Posts: 58
edited January 2018 in Growing Food
Sherry,

It sounds like you are taking every precaution you possibly can! Keep us posted and let us know what happens. It always scares me as well to put out my tomatoes early! But, you're so right - I'm in zone 8a - and by the time July hits the plants stop setting fruit!

Ruth

Comments

  • Robert HeldRobert Held Posts: 4
    edited March 2018
    I'd be very careful about putting them out early. Out here in California the weather was in the mid 70's and everyone was heading to their favorite nurseries to buy tomato plants when all the experts were warning not to plant yet.  Low and behold the weather changed about a week later and we had about three or four days of a HARD FROST.  The weather has been cold, wet and rainy ever since.

    Where I live, I usually don't plant my tomatoes until mid to late May because it's to cool to plant yet.  When I tell people that they think I'm crazy oh well I usually get a good crop all the way through September.
  • sherryosherryo Posts: 58
    edited March 2018
    Ruth

    Thanks for the feedback!

    We did get a hard freeze after I planted and I lost more than half the plants.  Which was okay, because I had backups.

    The recycled bottles of water were glass wine bottles that I had scavenged.  Very interesting that you could map exactly where the cold air flowed through the gardens.  The ones in cold spots froze solid and exploded into hundreds of shards.  Oh well, I now know where the coldest spots in the garden are.

    The bottles that were not in cold spots did not freeze or break - and those tomatoes had zero freeze damage.
  • sherryosherryo Posts: 58
    edited March 2018
    Robert

    Thanks for the caution - and yes we do frequently get late freezes here.  Most people put tomatoes out around mid-March.  I'm hoping to sell at a farmer's market or I wouldn't bother with all this.

    We can start getting temps high enough to cause blossom drop in early May.  The tomatoes will continue to grow and ripen, they just quit setting new fruit.  If I plant in mid-March, that gives only two month's for the plants to settle in and set fruit.  I usually pull these plants in July because production stops and they look awful.

    If I can get an extra two week's worth of fruit set, it will make a big difference.
  • MikeFMikeF Posts: 35 ✭✭✭
    edited March 2018
    Here (on the border on zone 7 and 8), we usually have several nice warm weeks in late Feb and early March.  But then we always have one last cold week in mid March.  So I plant my early tomatoes in 5 gallon containers.  Then I can simply move them indoors when that last freeze hits.

     

    M

     

     
  • Merin PorterMerin Porter Editorial Director Southwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 636 admin
    edited April 2018
    In zone 6a here, and last average frost date is June 1. This year, I'm trying Wall-o-Waters to plant my tomatoes several weeks early. Fingers crossed -- we'll see how they do!
  • Ruth Ann ReyesRuth Ann Reyes Managing Director TGN Shy of the Chi - Zone 5bPosts: 323 admin
    edited April 2018
    Merin,

    I cannot wait to see how this works for you. I plan on using them next year!
  • Merin PorterMerin Porter Editorial Director Southwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 636 admin
    edited May 2018
    Wall-o-Water update: So far, so good! I'll be honest that while I was setting them up, I wondered whether they would be worth the trouble. But about a week ago, my first tomato plant pushed through the top of the WOW. (This is two weeks before I could have even planted seedlings outdoors without them.) Since then, most of my other plants have done the same.

    We've had several very cold nights since I planted my tomatoes using WOWs, and they've honestly seemed to do absolutely fine in their little mini greenhouses! We've got flowers on several of them, and I'm super stoked about having tomatoes about a month earlier than I did last year.

    I am definitely planning to use these Wall-o-Waters again next year....
  • CherlynnCherlynn Posts: 149 ✭✭✭
    edited August 2018
    I live in a place you absolutely never ever plant early.   This year we had snow clear into mid May ( Not normal!  even for here!)   Then we went into 100 degree weather literally the same week we had our last 4 inches of snow.   Our helped my Amish neighbor build a greenhouse with a bio mass heating system build into the beds. They now have 22 green houses and grow tomatoes, melons etc all year round to a Midwest grocery chain.    I am hoping when the dust settles here to put a small bio mass greenhouse in attached to our basement entrance( south side of the house).  This year the drought pretty well kill off my tomatoes early.  I got one left that is still blooming.  Strange year.  I'm just grateful what I was able to grow and harvest this year.
  • sherryosherryo Posts: 58
    edited August 2018
    Hi Cherlynn

    A biomass greenhouse sounds like an awesome project.  I would be interested in hearing updates when you get it going.
  • CherlynnCherlynn Posts: 149 ✭✭✭
    edited August 2018
    It will probably be a couple years.  2 other projects take priority.  I first saw this on a video done up by Paul Wheaton and then recommended a book which we bought.  I was thrilled to go help the Amish put their first one in and am pleased that it worked so well.
  • Ruth Ann ReyesRuth Ann Reyes Managing Director TGN Shy of the Chi - Zone 5bPosts: 323 admin
    edited August 2018
    Merin,

    Thanks for that update. I'm going to try the WOW next year so I can get my plants out on March 1st(ish.)
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