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Old July 8, 2019   #1
ewm12
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Default Tomatoes at altitude and hail

I live in Colorado. Does anyone else have to deal with hail. Also, what varieties of tomatoes do you grow at higher altitudes? I'm at 5700 feet, roughly. Thanks for your input!
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Old July 10, 2019   #2
shule1
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Sasha's Altai is supposed to be good for high altitudes. It's a good tomato, as I understand it. I tried growing it, but I don't think mine was true-to-type, as it was very small. Nevertheless, it produced throughout the season and tasted great. My elevation isn't nearly as high as yours (it's 2,260'). I'd love to try a new seed source on that one.

We occasionally get hail in my area, and occasionally plants have been damaged (but nothing too serious, so far). We haven't had any damaging hail this year or last, though. I think most areas probably get a little hail. How often do you get it? We usually get it with thunder storms a few times a year.

I guess making sure your plants have a good supply of potassium and calcium might help them withstand the hail better (potassium helps to make plants strong).

I have a suspicion that Coyote might do fairly well at high altitudes. It's an early, fast-growing cherry.

Last edited by shule1; July 10, 2019 at 04:59 AM.
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Old July 10, 2019   #3
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I don't know if you want my input on favorites, considering our elevation differences, but these are my favorites to grow (based on performance):

Sausage
My Brandy Boy cross
Mountain Princess
Galapagos Island (extra early, yellow/golden, marble-sized; very small plant; prolific)
Sweet Orange Cherry
Frosty F. House
Matina
Black Beauty
Early Girl F1

Some possible new favorites (the season is still young) include these:
Marion
Black Dragon
Bloody Butcher
Nodak Early (I grew it last year, but it's doing so much better this year that I think it may be a cross)
Fourth of July F1
Jerusalem
Valley Girl F1
Coyote
Rio Grande
Matt's Wild Cherry (grows fast, and viny)
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Old July 10, 2019   #4
arnorrian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewm12 View Post
I live in Colorado. Does anyone else have to deal with hail. Also, what varieties of tomatoes do you grow at higher altitudes? I'm at 5700 feet, roughly. Thanks for your input!
I wouldn't dare growing tomatoes without shading net. It withstands lite to medium hail quite well. It won't help much with the golf-ball hail though.

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Old July 10, 2019   #5
ewm12
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I live in Colorado Springs, we get hail regularly, from pea size to baseball size(occasionally), mostly hail the size of a quarter, after one of those kind of storms, it smells of pine trees, and leaves are stripped off of most trees and plants.
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Old July 10, 2019   #6
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Is that netting resting on poles? I may have to invest in some of that actual hail netting, where it bounces right off.
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Old July 10, 2019   #7
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Yes, it rests on poles. It's quite flexible, after a hail storm last year I found bunches of hail grains (?) collected in the hanging parts of the netting. It's cheap too, the price here is 0.25 dollars for a square meter.

For hail damage the speed of the wind is more important than the size of the grains. When the mass of the grain is doubles its kinetic energy is doubled too, but when its velocity is doubled its kinetic energy is quadrupled.

Last edited by arnorrian; July 10, 2019 at 04:02 PM.
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Old July 10, 2019   #8
KarenO
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One of the reasons as a prairie gardener I preferred potato leaf plants and did not prune them to expose fruit. The heavier foliage cover protects fruit at least from anything less than a severe hailstorm.
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Old July 10, 2019   #9
ewm12
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Any varieties in particular?
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Old July 10, 2019   #10
KarenO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewm12 View Post
Any varieties in particular?
You may be interested in some of the KARMAs or my potato leaf hearts, long threads here on tomatoville regarding all of those. For better known PL varieties, stick to the midseason ones for your area, avoid the very late ones like Brandywine. look at things like Captain Lucky, Indian stripe PL, a great many others.
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Old July 10, 2019   #11
guruofgardens
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We live west of Denver, elevation 5800'. Hail usually comes in June, but last year it took out my whole garden on August 14. I use sunscreen fabric on the tomato and pepper cages until the tomato plants are too big for the cages and then put the screening on the side of the cage.

For tomatoes, there are no varieties I don't plant. I love Brandywine.
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Old July 10, 2019   #12
greenthumbomaha
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I have another thread on hail from a storm this spring. A freak early hail storm took out my plants when they were in the ground for one day or still in pots. They are much more resilient when bigger and stronger. Insurance wise, it also caused over $40k in damage to the house. The hail stayed piled up for 5 days in the corner where it collected off the roof. This is the third time since 2013 the damage was great enough to require a new roof, at a minimum.



Agree as above, wind plays a major factor, as is the size of hail and the duration.


What are some inexpensive covers? Shade cloth is pretty expensive. I bought it for lettuce off the roll at Lowes for $1.99/foot 3 feet in width. Works great for greens in the heat. Never though I would have a need for it this far north.



- Lisa
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #13
hl2601
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I am in Denver and like Lisa had a major hail storm June 1 which wiped out all my gardens. I think we have had at least 9 minor hail storms as well this season ( snow too on May 22), but that one took out my roof, deck, fences, porch furniture and caused 90K damage so far. I replanted some tomatoes but willed the tomato "stick"s that were left back to life since I had started them from carefully selected seed-many from MMMM. Though the plants are behind, my tomatoes ( 90 of them!) are doing super well. I never thought they could recover as well as they have. I can grow most any variety here, but try not to do too many late season tomatoes since we can get Sept frosts. Try whatever sounds interesting to you! Don't be overly intimidated by the altitude or hail. Cherries are great because they are early and prolific. You are assured some bounty with them. Good Luck!
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