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What night-time temperature should scare me?

Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:49 pm
by James282
So it's been in the high 80s here in NJ, and everyone has started transplanting their tomatoes outside. I checked the national weather service yesterday, and seeing no night-time lows below 50 I set mine in the ground today.

Then today I checked the National Weather Service and it says tomorrow's night time low is 39! Is this a dangerous temperature for my young plants? If so, will a bed-sheet cover really work to protect them as has been suggested? Do I rest the sheet right on top of the plants or should I stake it up a bit? I would be devastated to damage these plants so soon after planting!

Thanks so much!

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:51 am
by Gary350
Tomatoes don't like it cold. The TV weather man says it is rare to have frost above 38 degrees F. That freakes me out, water freezes at 32 deg F so how is it possible to have frost at 38 deg F? As long as it does not frost on your tomatoes they will be fine. In the past I have had my tomatoe plants turn a little purple color from several very cold nights but it never causes any damage to them.

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:51 am
by hendi_alex
Mine were in the ground when the temperature dipped to around 36 a couple of weeks ago. It didn't frost and there appeared to be no damage to the tender tomato plants. Might be smart to cover the plants, but if no frost is expected, probably will present no real problem. I did let a sprinkler run all night, just to be on the safe side. Don't think that was necessary, but probably kept the temperature of the plants up several degrees.

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:22 am
by James282
okay cool, thanks folks :) I will cover them just to be safe.


Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:30 pm
by The Helpful Gardener
Rode out 37 last night with no ill effects (pushing my frost date by a few weeks and if I have to cover I will, but so far so good...)

I'm an April Fool :kidding:


Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:31 pm
by James282
I covered last night and it all looks great :) First the devastating heat makes my greens bolt, and then the cold comes right after to attack the sensitive plants!

How did farmers get anything done before the internet? :)


Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 12:05 am
by The Helpful Gardener
Yep, 40 degree swing between highs Tuesday and Wednesday here; from 89 high to a 37 low the very next day.

Most of you down South haven't seen 89 yet; am I right?

Amory Lovins calls this Global Wierding; as gardeners we are likely to notice the effects of weather more than our florally challenged companions. Plants are better attuned to the vagaries of weather than are humans; some of our species seem to particularly immune and opine still that global climate change is more mythology than ecology. Those of use who garden notice the bloom times; those of you journaling will likely notice how things are accelerating significantly... this would correlate with scientific studies, some that show we are two weeks ahead between 1990 and 1999... (it was from my birthyear of 1961 until 1990 for a two week increase before that)...


Gardeners and farmers will be the first to feel the brunt of global wierding, giving us more of a stake in the climate change conversation than most. But as we are the frontline for storing carbon, in control of the finest tool Nature has ever created for moving atmospheric carbon into long term storage, in the roots and living soils of organic culture. We are both the question and the answer, but be sure to both question...and answer. Organics is the answer.

Let's garden... 8)


Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 12:10 am
by Earl K
Where i am we have only reached 80-85.Yet they hit 90 up north last week.Do the math :?

Posted: Sat May 02, 2009 8:43 pm
by BrianSkilton
I don't think it knows quite what to get up to here. A few weeks ago it was 95 then no more than a day later it was barely making 50. I hate this when its like that. Now its staying constant 50's finally...hope it warms up soon.