To plant or not to plant those tomatoes: the annual conundrum

It's the nighttime temperatures we should pay attention to when we are transplanting our seedlings into the ground.

A friend recently asked if it would be safe to plant out her tomato seedlings. Good question.

Please, please, do not let the current weather patterns fool you. Yes, our daytime temperatures have all been in the double digits so far this month. Pretty much okay for tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and squash to go into the ground. However…

It is actually the nighttime temperatures we should pay attention to when we are transplanting our seedlings into the ground.

Knowing the soil temperature is also useful information when sowing seeds, as vegetables have preferred heat needs in this medium as well. Tomato plants, for one, do not perform well when overnight temperatures drop below 15.5 C for a few days. The results can be stunted growth and poor fruit set. (One or two nights is okay but more than three in succession can have an impact.)

Soil temperature: if readings are below 10 C, root development will likely be poor and growth stunted.

Do not forget about temperature needs for our pollinators. Many of them are not very industrious when daytime temperatures are below 10 deg C. So, even if some flowers develop, there may not be pollinators around to do their bit for fruit set.

One more factor to keep in mind when planting your garden: last frost date (LFD).

March 18 was the last night of frost in our garden this spring. So far. This has me worried. LFD in 2015 was on April 14. Still early for us, as LFDs have typically fallen between April 28 and May 10 in previous years. March 18 is just too freaky to think about, so I think there is a “bump” still to come.

I have not planted our tomatoes in the greenhouse yet because the overnight temperatures in our unheated structure are only averaging 6.5 C to date.

For more information on ideal temperatures for planting your vegetables, check out the chart on my website at duchessofdirt.ca

Leslie Cox co-owns Growing Concern Cottage Garden in Black Creek. Her website is at duchessofdirt.ca and her column appears every second Thursday in the Record.

Just Posted

Comox Valley Chamber looks back on recent achievements

Chamber of Commerce Week Feb. 18-22

What to do on Family Day in the Comox Valley

Looking for something to do this Family Day? Here are some suggestions:Courtenay… Continue reading

Deported Courtenay man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Len Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

Highland Secondary student wins Horatio Alger scholarship

Jenna Leggett grew up on Read Island where there was no electricity and no roads to her home

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Steelhead LNG stops work on Kwispaa LNG project near Bamfield

Huu-ay-aht First Nations ‘deeply disappointed; Steelhead says funding is the problem

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

Most Read