Flatfoot
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2005 12:13 am
Location: Chattanooga TN

Space blankets and growing tomatoes in pots...

Hey everyone! I am a newbe...both to gardening and to this forum. This year I was inspired to grow me some tomatoes in pots. I went to Low's and purchased some large green plastic pots, some potting soil, and two baby Big Boy tomatoe plants. A week or so later after starting those, I purchased yet another variety of tomatoe called "Arkansas Traveler" from a local organic/hippy grocery store :wink: All three tomatoes seem to be doing quite well...especially the organic one. I've already harvested several ripe and tasty tomatoes from the vines. One thing I noticed however was how fast the soil in the pots would dry out. If I forget to water them just one day it won't take long for the entire plant to become all wilted....and even the surface of some of the tomatoes looking like the surface of a raisin. I noticed that the pots would get fairly hot during the day...with the soil in the pot reading over 110 degrees with my nerdy digital probe thermometer. 8) In my mind this is certainly not the same conditions a tomatoe would experience if planted directly in the ground.

So in come the camping space blanket to the rescue. I have covered two pots with silver mylar reflective space blanket material....wrapped around and held in place with a large rubber band. This reflects the heat of the sun and keeps the soil in the pot MUCH cooler on a hot day. It hasn't been long enough yet to determine if this will effect the growing in a positive way...though certainly I won't have to water as often...as the pot is no longer baking itself dry. So far the temperature difference between the two pots I have covered and the one I have yet to cover are significant to the touch. I will measure the difference with my thermometer tomarrow.
I am posting this just out of personal interest. Do you think the temperature of the roots and of the soil in a pot effect the growth of a tomatoe in one way or another? Flatfoot.[/img]

grandpasrose
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1651
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:21 pm
Location: Quesnel, BC, Canada - Zone 4a

I have never heard of it being a problem. I grow tomatoes in pots myself, and they do fine. You certainly have an ingenius idea to solve your problem. One thing I love about gardeners, they will always find a way! :D
How big are your pots? Tomatoes are heavy feeders and drinkers, and require alot of water. The leather appearance of your tomato is a lack of water. Tomatoes also have a large root system, so require quite a large pot to grow properly.
Be sure to let us know how your experiment goes! :wink:
Has anyone else tried anything like this?.............
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

Flatfoot
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2005 12:13 am
Location: Chattanooga TN

Official temp readings...

O.k. today I measured the soil in the uncovered pot and the covered pot. There is about a 25 degree temperature difference between the two. 112 degree soil in the uncovered and 87 degrees in the covered. I'm thinking that water loss due to evaporation should be alot less in the covered pot.

The Helpful Gardener
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Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

That temperature difference will affect root growth (very little at 87 but NONE at 112 degrees).

Val's right about those containers; keeping them wet is another good way to cool the soil and get rid of that leathery skin; how about a timer and mister (run about an hour midday...)?

HG

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