Tomatoes in Burnaby

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Tex, May 4, 2011.

  1. Tex

    Tex Member

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    Location:
    Burnaby
    Hey all -

    So the garden patio is looking good after some initial work the past few weekends. Last weekend, I went to Gardenworks for a free seminar on growing tomatoes. Got some great tips, and was told that in-ground gardens generally shouldn't be started until the temperatures overnight didn't much below 12'C, and ideally with highs in the 19-21'C range... likely a couple weeks out yet. Afterwards, I asked the guy if that applied to containers on patios as well, and he said that for my situation (south-facing, protected), I could easily get started this weekend.

    So I did!

    [​IMG]

    The plant on the left is an "Sweet 100", the middle is a "Lemon Boy", and on the right side is a "Early Cascade". I've never grown tomatoes before, but plan on growing these using the "stake" system (ie. keeping the plant trim, rather than bushy, and staking it to a bamboo pole, if that sounds right?).

    My question - if in fact I'm planting these too early, what is the worst that could happen? Will they just wither up and die in the next couple of weeks? Or will they live and eventually grow when things get warmer, but never actually produce any fruit?

    If it's the former, no big deal, they only cost a buck each or something. If it's the latter, and I end up getting my hopes up - then being disappointed - I might need to reconsider.

    Thoughts?
    :D
    Tex
     
  2. Mare57

    Mare57 Member

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    Hi Tex,

    I think they might die if it's too cold. I had my little seedlings out on our sheltered deck for sun, uncovered, and some of them flopped over because it got too cold - within a fairly short time. You might want to bring them in at night.
     
  3. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    As long as the tomatoes are not exposed to frost, they won't die. But they should be acclimated slowly to the cooler temperatures and bright sunlight. A sudden transition will shock them and cause them to wilt.
     
  4. Tex

    Tex Member

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    So it sounds like the worst outcome is that they either die or become sickly... I can live with that. If they're looking pretty rough, I'll just buy new ones once we're closer to the proper weather.

    Any other thoughts? Thanks!
    :D
    Tex
     
  5. Heather Ann

    Heather Ann Member

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    New Westminster BC Canada
    I think you need to give them some protection during the cooler temperatures during the evening. Gardenworks at Mandevilles sells clear plastic umbrellas for plant protection. Put them low over the plants during the night, and raise them up for good airflow during the day. This will also help protect you against the blight which usually strikes in mid August when there is excess moisture on the leaves from rain or dew and the temperatures begin dropping at night.
     
  6. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Kootenays, BC, Canada
    If that guy is right I would never start my garden here in the Kootenays. But I do. So ...
    I always wait until the last frost date in my area and plant my Tomatoes and other tender plants as soon as possible after that. They grow and produce well, even if night temperatures drop to just a few degrees above zero.
    What is important is the quality of the soil and hardening off period before planting the seedlings outside. If you have good soil in your containers and you hardened your seedlings properly your plants will be happy. Only frost can damage them. And remember to keep the foliage dry whenever possible.
     
  7. Hill60

    Hill60 Member

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    I am not an expert but have been growing my tomatoes in containers the past four seasons. The planting out time on the coast varies so greatly that it is really hard to sort out when the right time for planting out is. They will sit and sulk when it gets cool as long as they don't get frost, then take off once it warms up. Your tomato plants are looking OK.

    I think the container size you have might be on the small side but will still work OK. You will need to water more often when the heat of the summer hits. I think you will find you need more than bamboo stakes for your tomato plant support even with keeping them pruned. I'm still working on staking issues that work for me.

    Container tomatoes gets tricky with watering and fertilizers to get the right balance, but they are fun to grow this way.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The tomato plant requires tropical conditions, including temperatures above 50 degrees F. to amount to anything. Chilled specimens, such as any that have been left sitting in outdoor temperatures this year may then be prevented from developing normally for some time afterward. The telltale warning sign is yellowish growing points, where the uppermost leaves meet at the tip of the main stem. In our area devoted hobbyists grow them under cover the entire time, from start to finish - making it essentially a greenhouse crop.

    Retail outlets and plant sale events at this time are full of tomato plants that have gotten too cold, it is at least one month too early for these to be allowed to sit outside long enough to drop below 50 degrees. If the minimum temperatures this year do not stay above 50 until July then it is currently two months too soon for outdoor tomato plants.
     

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