Protecting Early Tomatoes
Guess what you can buy in the nurseries now? New transplants of tomatoes, and peppers, and broccoli, and cauliflower.
Now on the peppers and tomatoes we've got some new varieties. On the tomatoes one called Whirl-away, one called Carnival, and then on the pepper we got one called Summer Sweet 860 (These varieties are no longer available).
Now you don't want to plant these straight in the ground unless you're going to give them some protection. The best way to protect them at this time of the year is put this concrete reinforcing wire cage around them immediately when you plant them, and go ahead and plant them in there, and then have some plastic around the cage.
Now what this plastic will do is give you some protection on a frosty night. And then if it gets real cold, I mean below thirty-two degrees, you can string light bulbs. Now your neighbors are going to think you're kind of crazy, but he's going to know it when you're stringing light bulbs out there. Those light bulbs in that plastic covered cage will give you some warmth that will protect you down to twenty-five degrees temperatures.
Now another thing is if you don't want to go through all that trouble, or you may just do it kind of as an insurance policy, is get you a pot and some potting mix and pot some of these plants up so that you can take them in on a cold night. Just put them out in the middle of the yard, out in the full sun, and if it does get extremely frosty or cold you can move them in.
But definitely get these new varieties and you can assure yourself that you'll have wonderful peppers and tomatoes by the middle of May.
This has been Jerry Parsons, Vegetable Specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, the Weekend Gardener.
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