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When to put out tomatoes (in pots, not squares)

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When to put out tomatoes (in pots, not squares)

Post  cpl100 on 5/14/2014, 6:47 pm

Today I purchased two plants (sweet 100 and Fourth of July).  One person at the nursery said to put them out on Memorial Day.  The other one said if they are in pots I can put them out now.

What would you experienced people do?
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Re: When to put out tomatoes (in pots, not squares)

Post  quiltbea on 5/14/2014, 7:16 pm

You're in 6a.  I think its safe to put them out now.  If you get a sudden freeze, just tote them indoors for the nite.  That's what's terrific about potted veggies.
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Re: When to put out tomatoes (in pots, not squares)

Post  cpl100 on 5/14/2014, 7:58 pm

Thanks.  I thought it could be okay because the ten day forecast is not showing anything below 48 even at night and that brings us almost to Memorial Day anyway.  And it's after my last frost date, too.

I just didn't know how warm tomatoes actually needed it to be to survive or be happy.

I did learn something, though, from the lady at the nursery.  She told me that the reason I could put in a pot vs. in the ground is that it's the soil temperature that matters rather than the air temperature.  (Of course, I'm sure she meant after the danger of frost....)
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Re: When to put out tomatoes (in pots, not squares)

Post  martha on 5/14/2014, 8:46 pm

However, tomatoes will survive but not thrive if the temps are below 50 degrees. Last year my tomatoes didn't go out in squares until the middle of June (also 6A), and my plants were definitely happier and healthier than anybody else's I know.

I always put my plants out on the patio for several hours in nice weather. The breeze is good for them, among other things.When it's a warm night, I'll leave them out, but not under 50.

I do feel like a soccer mom, with bringing the plants in and out and in and out, but by the time I feel like I really cant' stand it anymore, they get to go out on their own.
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Re: When to put out tomatoes (in pots, not squares)

Post  camprn on 5/15/2014, 6:31 am

@cpl100 wrote:Thanks.  I thought it could be okay because the ten day forecast is not showing anything below 48 even at night and that brings us almost to Memorial Day anyway.  And it's after my last frost date, too.

I just didn't know how warm tomatoes actually needed it to be to survive or be happy.

I did learn something, though, from the lady at the nursery.  She told me that the reason I could put in a pot vs. in the ground is that it's the soil temperature that matters rather than the air temperature.  (Of course, I'm sure she meant after the danger of frost....)
she was actually correct about soil temps. 50° soil will make a happier tomato plant than 40°soil. The smaller mass of the pot or garden box will have a quicker rise in temp than in ground garden.
My long range forecast also not calling for freezing temps. I'm going to start setting out my summer veggies and will be prepared to cover them if necessary.  Good luck cpl! Wink

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Re:When to put out tomatoes (in pots, not squares)

Post  Boz on 5/15/2014, 11:39 am

When you talk about soil temperature are you talking the low or the daily average?
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Re: When to put out tomatoes (in pots, not squares)

Post  camprn on 5/15/2014, 12:05 pm

@Boz wrote:When you talk about soil temperature are you talking the low or the daily average?
The actual soil temperature where tomatoes start their optimum growth. Of course there is a range, tomato plants will live in soil w/ temps below 50 and above 65 but they don't thrive at those temperatures.

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/effect-soil-temperature-tomato-growth-45509.html

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Re: When to put out tomatoes (in pots, not squares)

Post  cpl100 on 5/15/2014, 12:36 pm

@camprn wrote:
@Boz wrote:When you talk about soil temperature are you talking the low or the daily average?
The actual soil temperature where tomatoes start their optimum growth. Of course there is a range, tomato plants will live in soil w/ temps below 50 and above 65 but they don't thrive at those temperatures.

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/effect-soil-temperature-tomato-growth-45509.html
Well, according to the information in this guide, I really should wait a bit to put out the tomatoes for best growth and best fruit.  Am I reading that correct?
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Re: When to put out tomatoes (in pots, not squares)

Post  camprn on 5/15/2014, 12:45 pm

@cpl100 wrote:
@camprn wrote:
@Boz wrote:When you talk about soil temperature are you talking the low or the daily average?
The actual soil temperature where tomatoes start their optimum growth. Of course there is a range, tomato plants will live in soil w/ temps below 50 and above 65 but they don't thrive at those temperatures.

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/effect-soil-temperature-tomato-growth-45509.html
Well, according to the information in this guide, I really should wait a bit to put out the tomatoes for best growth and best fruit.  Am I reading that correct?
IT is a variable you need to weigh in regard to the weather forecast. I am not far from you. I am going to transplant my seedlings tonight in anticipation of the rain coming. If the soil temps remain cool for greater than 3 days I can cover the MM with black plastic to increase solar gain and heat the soil back up... If you wait until it's perfect, that condition could last an hour, a day a week.

This gardening thing, in temperate climes, is a balancing act with few absolutes.

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