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early tomato attempt....with pics.

Posted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:43 pm
by GardenRN
I got a little over usual. I decided to try a little something. I thought maybe if I planted a tomato plant in the ground and kept it covered at night maybe it would survive the rest of the 40 degree nights we have.

so first things first, I re dug a hole where I had buried fresh kitchen scraps. You can see all the banana peels, apple cores and egg shells where I dug it out!

Here's the tomato plant ready to be stripped down and placed in that composting hole. I figured this one was a good candidate because I am only half expecting it to live and somewhere amongst potting up this one didn't get labeled. So I don't even know what kind it is

I stripped the lower growth on the plant and buried it deep, but didn't mess with the roots any. I figured the potting soil would give a little bit of buffer between the new compost and the the roots. AT least for now. I also added even more egg shells in the bottom of the hole. If anything goes wrong with this plant, IT WILL NOT be blossom end rot!!

Then I cut the bottom off of an apple juice bottle and put it over the plant. I'm hoping it will give me sort of a greenhouse/cold frame effect and the compost in the ground should add some heat to the roots and such. I'm keepin my fingers crossed! The plant was wilting a bit when I put it in because I missed watering it for a while.

Update....I planted that yesterday evening. It definitely made it through the night and perked up quite a bit! Last night's temps hit about 45. Today is supposed to go up to 87 and then back down to 60s during the day and 45-55 at night for the next few days. So we'll see. The cover is off for today because of the high temps. But will go back on tonight. But for now she looks happy.

Posted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:18 pm
by applestar
Looking good! Don't forget you can regulate the temp and humidity by removing the cap and/or by only partially tightening the cap, but keep it handy for those colder nights!

You might harvest the first tomato in the neighborhood! 8)

Posted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:25 pm
by GardenRN
A thought on removing the cap, I figured if I needed to regulate temps and humidity I would do it by digging out little areas at the base. I thought about removing the cap too, but that thought was quickly followed by the realization that heat rises, therefore if I remove the top, the entire thing would basically pointless would it not?

And if it warm enough that I WANT the heat to escape from the top, it's most likely warm enough to remove the whole thing. Just my thoughts...I have no experience with this type of thing so it's really all theoretical on my part.

Posted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:36 pm
by applestar
My favorite hardware store had a pack of little stick-on thermometers. I used them without peeling of the backing to check temps, and it can get surprisingly hot inside those things when the sun shines on them even when the air temp is cold.

Removing or loosening the cap during the day created the perfect atmosphere sometimes. You don't want to cook your plant, and young tomato plants grow sturdier if kept cooler like 50's and low 60's.

Posted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:05 pm
by Duh_Vinci
Jeff, good luck man! I usually do this with 1-2 plants this early in the season, but this year - have not done it yet... Just started to hardening off the earlies this past weekend, so will have something in the ground by this coming weekend I think :lol:

One thing to keep in mind, since the leafs are touching the bottle, if there is a frost - those leafs that touch the plastic will get the frost bite, so keep an eye on it :wink:


Posted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:18 am
by GardenRN
great point D, hadn't thought of that. Although there's not much I can do to prevent it so I suppose it'll just be up to the plant to survive the damage. :shrug: it'll be aiiight.

Posted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:21 am
by fishntime
Sounds like you have a good plan. Hope it works out.

Posted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:50 am
by applestar
You can always toss a sheet/floating cover OVER the bottle (or a larger nursery pot or a bucket).

Posted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:54 am
by GardenRN
fishntime wrote:Sounds like you have a good plan. Hope it works out.
<~~~never satisfied. lol. If it works out too well I'll be kicking myself for not doing it with all of them and I'll be making the lady of the house mad because I'll have 1500 juice bottle laying around the house this fall and winter getting ready for next spring. :roll:

Tis the spirit of gardening.