tomatoes and green peppers

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetable Gardening' started by alkvinia kaye, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. alkvinia kaye

    alkvinia kaye Member

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    Wittman, Az 85361 USA
    Im from Iowa but now live in Az. In iowa we cut off plastic milk jug tops and bottoms{gal size} and put them over the plants to protect from night frost bite and to act as a green house for early planting. Here in Az I planted new tomato plants and some red and green pepper plants last month. They are growing well and all danger of frost was gone in our area. I kept some of last yrs tomato plants and pepper plants that got hit by frost in Dec. and early Jan winter. I cut them back after the 1st frost in dec and we got another bite after they started coming back with nice new leafs. That one took all the leafs. I cut the tomato plants back to just a main fat stem aprox 1 1/2' to 2' tall. I saved 5 just to see what would happen . Some are still fat green stems, and two of the plants have started leafing at the bottom of the plant. At one point these tomato plants were over 5' tall. As to the frost bit red and green peppers and jalapeno peppers, I cut off what appeared to be dead to the joints and left just green stems without branches. This week all sorts of leafs are appearing on all the pepper plants. Im excited and think they will make it . Dont know about the tomatoes. We are new to Az so this was my first experiment. I will purchase some sort of cloth cover for them this yr hoping to prevent it from happening again. My heart broke when I had to cut down these 5' tall tomato plants and strip them of the leafs and throw the sizeable green tomatoes into the soil. I did that because the soil is very alkuline here. Earlier the first yr I covered them with a plastic tarp and was told not to do that to them or the roses as the plastic would kill them so I didnt cover them at all.
  2. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    Brantford,Ontario, Canada
    I am rather interested in whether the tomatoes recover or not.

    When frost hits my tomatoes in the Spring, which it does periodically, due to putting out too early, I have been tearing them up and buying new ones. My opinion is that the smaller new ones will produce in a shorter time than the frost bitten larger tomatoes. But my growing season is much shorter than yours. Zone 5.

    For minor frost I do cover completely with large plastic bags, but last year to my chagrin, I found this was insufficient, since my whole 26 plants had to be replaced.

    I had 4 mil plastic, well tucked in, but it needed a bit of cotton inside. Bags have protected well in the past, so I assume the frost in 2007 was more severe than what had been encountered in the past.

    Sometimes I leave the plastic bags around the plant with the top open to add more heat early in the season, and prevent cool wind effects. The bags are supported by the typical tomato cage. At night I place a dark normal plastic bag over the top.

    There is always some risk, when one tries to out-guess Mother Nature.

    Tomato Plant frost damage 14 May 2007

    14 May 2007. Tomato plants were put in the ground on 12 May 2007. There was a frost warning so they were covered carefully with 4 mil plastic. Apparently this was not sufficient and the plants suffered severe damage.

    Today I went to a nursury and bought replacement plants, which I put in large pots and will keep them indoors until all danger of frost is past.

    My efforts to beat the season were in vain.

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