Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cold Tomatoes

Two weeks ago we spent a Friday evening pulling row covers over as much of the garden as we could.  Mainly over the tomatoes, squash and cucumbers.

That Friday night we lost a bed of cucumbers, about half of the first squash planting and about half of a slicing tomato variety called Defiant.  The rest of the tomatoes and squash fared pretty well.

This is what a squash plant looks like when the cells in the stem freeze and expand to the point of bursting.  Not pretty.

The following Wednesday the cold sneaked up on me.  I wasn't paying attention to the forecast and didn't realize until 11 at night that we were going to get cold.  I think what saved me there was that it had been 70 degrees and sunny during the day and the ground underneath the black plastic mulch was hot to the touch.  I'm convinced that heat made all the difference when the frost set all around those beds.  

This Friday night...cold coming.  No frost advisory.  Not enough row cover to cover even half of what needed to be covered especially since we had started putting tomato trellising in which meant we couldn't just float row cover across two beds at a time.  As I left for market Saturday morning I felt pretty good about no frost on the ground and 37 degree temps at 5:00 am.  Saturday afternoon showed a different story.

This cold didn't seem to touch the remaining squash or the newly planted bed I put in last week.  This cold hit the tomatoes.  

My early estimate is that we lost about twenty percent of our tomato plants.  At least not a total loss!  We'll see over the next few days though whether or not some plants that I deemed questionable make it through or bail.

We'll also see whether or not an effort I made this morning pays off over the next few days.  More info on that to come if I'm successful!  

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