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Old September 9, 2007   #1
happychick
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Default Hot days and cold nights question

My husband is military and we may be transferring to CA next year. The place we're looking at has huge differences between the day and night temperatures and I'm wondering if I can even grow tomatoes somewhere like this. It's not the days I'm worried about - they seem perfect for most of the year - only two hot months and no cold months. The nights are cold all year, though. The average nighttime temperature in March is 37, in May 45 in June and July only in the 50s. Is it possible to grow tomatoes outdoors if the nights are that cold? I don't anticipate DH agreeing to me having a full greenhouse set up any time soon, so I have to grow things outdoors or not at all.
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Old September 10, 2007   #2
cecilsgarden1958
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I do it almost every year
In fact, this is the first year in a long time, where I had some warm nights.

You get a lot of blght problems, but unlke me this year, if you start with daconil early they do fine. Production is down somewhat but you do get tomatoes. I think it's the dew every morning that gets mie, because I do't get sun until way after noon.(Too evaporate it off)

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Old September 10, 2007   #3
montanamato
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We have had temps like that for most years...only the last 2 summers had a sprinkling of 60 degree nights...Right now it is in the high 80's and low 40's at night...Plants are loaded and healthy . We rarely get dew and have low humidity with little disease...I have been putting up enough tomatoes to feed a family of 5 year round in these conditions for many years.
Try lots of varieties to see what does best in your area.
I am even getting some longer date maturing varieties this year...Should be eating Mountaineer Mystery, Grubs Mystery Green, Grace Latham, and Berkeley Tie dye by the end of the week...
Jeanne
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Old September 10, 2007   #4
keithaxis
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that is my issue also at 700 feet elevation. Saturday it was almost 80 but got down to 40 on the clear night. I get July and August where we really never hit below 50 but once september is here I hit 40's any clear night. I do not see a bad difference in flavor til I hit the upper 30's a few nights...I grow all late season varieties which are finally ripening...
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Old September 10, 2007   #5
maryinpnw
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My temps are similar to Keith's, but a bit warmer usually, as I am further south, in Oregon. Nights are just starting to get into the 40s at night. They can and often are that way in the spring as well. You might want to try Walls Of Water or hoop houses in the spring, which is when they are most used here, and again in the fall. I have read plenty of threads saying Walls Of Water, (WOWs), are useless, but here in my part of the world, they are very useful. If spring/summer are cooler than one would like for tomato, pepper or eggplant growing, WOWs or hoop houses can make the difference between getting ripe ones and not getting any at all. Hoop houses will also protect from the rain and the rare snow we get here, although the chances of getting snow in spring or fall are pretty slim.

Living in the Pacific Northwest on the west side of the mountains, we also look for the warmest places we can to grow out tomatoes, next to driveways, near south facing walls, near brick or cement walls in whatever location, near swimming pools or any other warm body of water, near anyplace that will reflect heat back into the plant.

Getting back to the WOWs and hoop houses, if you are frugal, on principal or out of need, you can take clear pop bottles and fill them full of water to put around your plants. This will help keep the plants a bit warmer at night. If you have tomato cages around your plants, you can wrap the cages with plastic from whatever source. Best to use heavy mil plastic though. It will help keep the plants warmer at night and won't be as susceptible to tearing. I'm sure you can think of other things. Perhaps this will get you to thinking of what resources you have in your area if you do move. All the best.

Last edited by maryinpnw; September 10, 2007 at 06:40 PM.
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Old September 10, 2007   #6
maryinpnw
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Just rereading the original post. Unless you start lots and lots of tomato seeds, maybe you can start your plants in the house or garage? I start mine in the house and move the plants out to a mini greenhouse. You can buy them at some big box stores or some big box home improvement places. I have talked with people who say theirs rip apart after a season, but I had one that I loved and the plastic was pretty tough. It lasted for five years or so. Our spring is quite variable temp wise. We can and do have temps like the place you may be moving to. On the other hand, we can also have several days around 65-70 F. in March. Freezing days absolutely happen here. Not sure how many freezing days in fall/winter, but not a lot I think. Weather in the 30s F. is common for lows and sometimes for the high. Even the mini greenhouses can do quite well in protecting my lovelies. And the more protected a place you put the greenhouse, the better. Price range I have paid for a mini greenhouse - $39.99 - $79.99. Price depends also on how big the greenhouse, quality of plastic, etc.
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Old September 12, 2007   #7
happychick
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Thanks, everyone. I'm glad to know that I will still be able to grow tomatoes. This was my first year and tomatoes are my favorite veggie (I know, I know, they're a fruit ) so I didn't want to have to stop growing them already. Thank you! Now I know that, even if we do go there, I'll get to try those varieties I was so excited about I had already ordered seeds.
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