Are my peppers and tomatoes doomed?
May 5, 2011 9:02 PM   Subscribe

What's wrong with my peppers and tomatoes?

I just transplanted 3 one gallon tomato plants and several 5-7" tall tomato and pepper plants. It got pretty cold two nights after th transplant. About 33 with a VERY light frost. I know it was a week or two too early to be putting them in but it was warm and I was impatient. I live in Denver which is zone five. The plants are shrivelling slightly and browning. Its getting up into the mid70s during the day and mid40s at night. Are they just suffering from the recent transplant or am I screwed because it got too cold?
posted by no bueno to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
They got too cold. If you use frost cover, tomatoes can very briefly deal with temperatures below 37 degrees. The larger tomatoes *may* eventually bounce back, but I can tell you from experience that you won't get much yield from them. I'm also at high altitude, in Zone 8, and I can only put tomatoes out this early if they're in containers and I bring them in every night, or if I use frost cover and bring them in when temps go below 40.
posted by annathea at 9:26 PM on May 5, 2011

Response by poster: Damn. I figured. A few weren't even phased but looks like I'll be replanting a couple.
posted by no bueno at 9:36 PM on May 5, 2011

oh, man. Yeah, it's too cold; up here in Fort Collins I had standing water freeze that same night. The low temperature on a given night is never really a guarantee that it won't freeze in your garden or even a small part of your garden; especially in our climate you get weird little pockets of warmth and cold. Just wait a couple weeks!
posted by peachfuzz at 9:39 PM on May 5, 2011

Just as an FYI, for tomatoes and peppers, every night where the temp goes below 50 can add as much as 2 weeks to the time it takes them to produce ripe fruit. It REALLY pays to keep them inside or in cloches until the weather is good.
posted by KathrynT at 10:05 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

If they've died off completely, replant them. If not ... well, you never know. Sometimes those suckers can come back, and then SURPRISE OH MY GOD TOMATOES EVERYWHERE. (I can't in good conscience say 'omg too many tomatoes' because I'm of the firm belief there's no such thing. This is why Dog made canning.)

Nthing the temperature thing -- the second I read 'What's wrong with my ...' I immediately thought 'they got too cold' without even looking. Heh. Half-cover them with something if you even think it's going to be cold at night. They like their heat, and this time of year they'll still benefit.

Just, y'know, don't forget to remove the cover. There's 'liking heat' and there's baking them to death.
posted by Heretical at 10:34 PM on May 5, 2011

Tomatoes shouldn't go below 10C/ 50F. I think peppers are even more sensitive. As for aubergines, well, I give up.
posted by rhymer at 1:51 AM on May 6, 2011

Tomatoes grow like weed, so perhaps they have a chance if they are not rapidly dying. I don't know about peppers.
posted by leigh1 at 4:13 AM on May 6, 2011

Response by poster: Glad to report that I replanted most but the two pepper plants and one tomato plant that I left in the ground have all recovered nicely. I'll have to see how much fruit they produce but they recovered their foliage and look much healthier.
posted by no bueno at 10:14 AM on June 9, 2011

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