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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #1
sirtanon
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Default All tucked in for the cold night

.."cold" being a relative term, of course. Here in phoenix, even in winter, it rarely gets down to, or below, freezing. Tonight, it's supposed to hit 31, so in order to insure that my tomatoes do not freeze to death, I've taken a few steps..


For the tomato plants in the ground, around the periphery of the backyard, I've covered/wrapped them in blankets or frost cloth.

Here's the 4 plants along the east wall. I've run a string of christmas lights through and around them, to add a little warmth, and covered with a couple of frost cloths.



There's also the solo plant along my south wall. Since it was just one plant, a whole string of lights seemed overkill, so I filled a 1 quart bottle with very warm water, placed it at the bottom of the plant, and wrapped the whole thing with a blanket.



My 'Ildi' tomato plant, the sole tomato plant in the side garden. This one should be okay, as it has a wall behind it, lots of pavers on the ground near it, plenty of landscaping bricks near it, and the side of the house to its east.. but to be safe, I covered it with a microfiber sheet, and put another bottle full of warm water at its base. For anyone wondering, that's our grape vine in the corner. It's about 2.5" thick at its base.



.. and then there's the 5 potted plants. For these, I moved them along the back wall of the house, where it's just a tiny bit warmer, and ran another string of lights along them.




.. tomorrow is supposed to get down to 27 or 28.. so, fingers crossed this is enough. After tomorrow, it's suppose to warm up again, with lows around 40 for at least a week or two.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #2
bower
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Great use of xmas lights, Sirtanon! Very festive as well as comforting for the plants. And use of mass is spot on.

I was astounded to see the tomato plant remains I hadn't clipped/dumped have stayed alive and flowering in the greenhouse through mid December, with daytime temps no more than 40's and plenty of nights that dipped below freezing - just not enough to freeze the soil.

There's one key treatment that has emerged here mainly through Vladimir's research and work, which is do not water the plants before a freeze. They do much better and endure much lower temperatures if the soil is fairly dry. I have confirmed that myself by watering some outdoor plants and not others. And the plants in my greenhouse this year haven't been watered since October, this is why they kept on. I also wonder how much the maturity of the plant plays a role - late season hardiness always seems more robust than early.

In the end, I couldn't resist dragging the last two 'plants' indoors just before our first heavy dump of snow. The longer stem sadly didn't respond well to being warmed fed and watered, I guess it was long since compromised but didn't have the moisture to actually rot. I trimmed off the healthy flowering sprouts and put them in water to see if they root. They were the best tasting of the lot, so the prospect of even a few lonely fresh maters during the winter was too much for me...
I guess your season is just starting, so best of luck with those!
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
Cole_Robbie
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Your cement block walls should make the temperature near them a few degrees warmer than what the weather predicts as a low, especially if it was a sunny day,
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
oakley
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Oh, they look so cozy and festive. I ran a string of lights around my rosemary tree in hopes to have fresh through the NewYear. So far so good!...just doesn't over-winter here and can't handle indoors as many times I've tried.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
KarenO
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Have they come through ok so far?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
sirtanon
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So far, so good.. it's supposed to get a bit colder tonight, so we'll see. I've already wrapped them up and seated the bottles of hot water next to them.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #7
PhilaGardener
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So festive!

I'm dreaming of a tomato for Christmas, just like the ones I used to know . . .
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #8
KarenO
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I think you did a good job protecting them and they will come through well.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #9
habitat_gardener
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bower View Post
...I was astounded to see the tomato plant remains I hadn't clipped/dumped have stayed alive and flowering in the greenhouse through mid December, with daytime temps no more than 40's and plenty of nights that dipped below freezing - just not enough to freeze the soil.

There's one key treatment that has emerged here mainly through Vladimir's research and work, which is do not water the plants before a freeze. They do much better and endure much lower temperatures if the soil is fairly dry. I have confirmed that myself by watering some outdoor plants and not others. And the plants in my greenhouse this year haven't been watered since October, this is why they kept on. I also wonder how much the maturity of the plant plays a role - late season hardiness always seems more robust than early....
That's surprising! I thought the rule of thumb was to keep plants hydrated to protect them during cold snaps!

I have a bunch of pepper plants I'd like to overwinter. It has gotten as low as 28F at night, though daytimes it's still in the 50s-60s. They're on a patio with fences and walls nearby, and a couple nights ago I threw a sheet over them. This is a new climate for me -- a bit colder than what I'm used to.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #10
bower
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Quote:
Originally Posted by habitat_gardener View Post
That's surprising! I thought the rule of thumb was to keep plants hydrated to protect them during cold snaps!

I have a bunch of pepper plants I'd like to overwinter. It has gotten as low as 28F at night, though daytimes it's still in the 50s-60s. They're on a patio with fences and walls nearby, and a couple nights ago I threw a sheet over them. This is a new climate for me -- a bit colder than what I'm used to.
I've always heard the same thing (opposite), and the opposing thumb may be true for more than tomatoes (+ peppers?) maybe not leafy vegs or non solanaceae. I was surprised to hear it, but observations bear it out. I haven't done any explicit trials with peppers but I would go with the same advice on a weak observations basis. Peppers are way tougher than tomatoes though when it comes to frost. I have only seen that toughness with dry soil though. If it was me, I'd hold off the water.
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