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Old April 13, 2018   #1
AlittleSalt
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Default Jump the Gun

A simple definition: to act before the proper time.

I planted out some tomato plants around March 20th. We had a lot of days with high temperatures in the 70s and 80s with lows in the 50s. Saturday, April 7th, a cold front came through. The forecasted low was 42, but it got down to 29F with the daytime high of 37F and strong damaging winds.

Almost a week later, some of the tomato plants look like they will recover. Others have already been replaced and there are a few more that need to be. One variety was Peacevine that had little to no chance of making it. Peacevine is one of my wife's favorites. I showed her the plant, and she said, "Pull it". I replaced it with a similar tomato called, "Sweetie Cherry"...but still.

Then there's a variety hit hard by the bad weather that a friend of ours sent me seeds for. He named the tomato with thoughts of his father. I wanted to proudly show him that it grows well here too. Each day, the plants (2) look worse. I have replacements and can buy more plants cheaply, but it's not the same.

I have known for years before joining Tomatoville what the weather is like here, and still, I jumped the gun. It is easy to be fooled by the weather conditions here in this part of Texas. I will not plant out tomato plants before mid-April anymore.
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Old April 13, 2018   #2
Nan_PA_6b
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Aw, I'm sorry to hear you lost some that you really needed. If you put them out early, you have to be ready to protect them from frost. Too bad you can't just seed some now & plant them late. That works up here, but not in TX. Can you put them on the schedule for the late summer planting?

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Old April 13, 2018   #3
OzoneNY
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I got bit by the same foul weather. By comparison, last year at this time my tomato plants were about a foot taller than they are now. Its just unpredictable and ya never know. General rule for me is plant out around St Patrick's day. Last 2 year it worked out perfectly but spring 2018 is proving to be a very different animal. Hopefully this means the extreme heat will be a few weeks delayed.
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Old April 13, 2018   #4
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Yes Nan. They can be started as early as mid June here for the fall gardens.
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Old April 13, 2018   #5
halleone
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You weren't the only one. On Wednesday, I planted out my tomatoes, broccoli, cabbages, pac choi, petunias, and marigolds. The tomatoes got Wallo-waters around them, and the cabbage family got cut-down plastic jugs over them, held in place by bamboo sticks. Wednesday night the high winds came, also hail and rain, lightning and thunder. It lasted several hours, and the high winds lasted over 24 hours, just settling down early this morning. I trusted the Wallo-waters to stay up, but figured the jugs were probably in the next county. Surprisingly, the two little bamboo stakes on each plant/jug held, and jugs are still in place. I haven't gone out yet to see how badly the plants are beat up for the wind, but will do so shortly. I knew better.......I just got a bad case of dumb, I guess.
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Old April 13, 2018   #6
ricman
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Salt,
I know your pain well. I've been covering and uncovering tomato plants for the last 2 weekends and will have to do so this again this weekend.The wind has been blowing 20 to 30 mph the last 3 days, nothing I put out early has escaped damage but nothing has died. I will be replacing some plants maybe next weekend if Mother Nature will cooperate.

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Old April 13, 2018   #7
AlittleSalt
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Rick, I hope the weekend cold spells stop after this weekend. One of the local weather forecasters was saying that we are stuck in a pattern of cold weekends. Three days of high winds here too but that's normal here in April. Today's forecast is for 87F today, and 47F tomorrow morning. 39F Sunday morning. It makes you wonder how tomato plants can live through 40 and 50 degree weather changes over 12 hours.
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Old April 13, 2018   #8
Harry Cabluck
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Default Perhaps next March.

Salty: Not much help this year, but something to consider in future. A couple of 55-gallon drum-liners might provide a greenhouse for your individual plants. Bottom liner with center cut out, except where edges are spiked onto tomato cage bottoms. Top liner is easily removed on sunny day. They are belted in place by rubber-band attached to string...snugged with half-hitch. This is how they looked in March a couple of years ago. Took a chance this year and did not use the top bags, and so far, so good.
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Old April 13, 2018   #9
mobiledynamics
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ALS -

Do you grow backups of the same *preferred plant* . I always keep/transplant/repot a backup of each variety just in case it croaks.
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Old April 13, 2018   #10
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I had backup plants, but they started growing leggy, so I planted them. I have 5 Black Krim plants as backups.
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Old April 13, 2018   #11
CamuMahubah
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ALittleSalt my dude thanks so much for the Porter! I started them yesterday for a June 1 plant out. I've seen it snow here in June but my biggest worry is hail storms.

Total whiteout here today. I got my pots on the porch with 125 watt heat lamp. It's an enclosed porch and the Pepsi I leave on the porch never freezes but April weather can be interesting.
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Old April 13, 2018   #12
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Here I sit in my tropical paradise feeling bad for you some what.
Like you have heard me say time and time again farming is a gamble.
You have more to gain and little to lose planting in mid to late March in your area every year.
Or at least waiting till the red buds come out.
I will tell you growing up we started our own seeds and we had protection at the ready for any late freeze or frost.
It was not a hobby farm it was our food for the year.
I have stacked fluffed up hay 2 feet high over tomato plants to protect them from late frost and freezes.
We covered with coffee cans and everything to protect those plants.
There are more than one of you and your wife to help around the place.
Hard words from a hard man giving advice to someone he loves and respects.
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Old April 13, 2018   #13
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Gardening is a gamble - One well worth trying. Don't feel bad for me - I knew the risks.

I would have covered the tomatoes, and the family would have helped out. I went to sleep thinking the low temperature up at DFW airport was going to be around 42. I'm south of DFW and was thinking our low temperature would be a little warmer than at DFW. I woke up to it being 29F. They missed that forecast.

The tomato plants are getting rained on now with no wind for a change. There's a bigger storm to our southwest that I'm watching on radar. It looks like it's on it's way here.
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Old April 13, 2018   #14
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Harry, good idea for the bags. Easy enough for one to do by themselves, too. I recycle bubble wrap and use clothes pins if I plant early. I like to get another use out of things I may throw away.

Salt, sorry you lost so many. Weather is fickle here and where you're at as well.
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Old April 14, 2018   #15
AlittleSalt
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We had some pea to quarter size hail. It was not enough to cover the ground, but it lasted for about 20 minutes or so. I only saw one plant damaged. Even the super hybrids looked droopy. A cold front is supposed to come through later tonight with NW winds around 20-35 mph. Northwest winds hit the raised beds straight-on without trees blocking the airflow somewhat.

It just hit me, I left out important details:

These raised beds are where I am growing super hybrids -vs- OP and regular hybrids. I should have written this in the first post. These raised beds have RKN and Fusarium Wilt race 3 in them. I apologize to everyone for not writing the details. These beds are being used as an experiment.

I am also trying different growing mediums in 5 gallon buckets that I haven't planted yet. Using a different way to me to fertilize/feed them. Those tomato plants are favorites that are still in the potted up stage protected inside on bad days. This spring garden is all about learning how to grow in a different way when the soil is contaminated with tomato diseases.

The super hybrids took the cold much better than the OP and regular hybrids. The raised beds soil temperature went from 70F to 50F last weekend. It is back up to 70F today, but it took 6 days.
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