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I planted tomatoes last weekend because it looked like we were going to have warm weather, but yikes! it says it will snow tonight. How can I protect my little tomato plants?

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A

Wall'o'waters, the water-filled plastic cylinders work very well to insulate tender tomatoes and peppers from late frost and freezing nighttime temperatures. The walls of the cylinder are pockets of water that absorb heat during the day and release heat at night. Most of the time, the top of the cylinder should stay open so that heat can vent out during the day. During very cold nights, you should either pinch the top closed or cover it with insulating material.

If you have too many tomato plants to use wall'o'waters, frost cloth will help prevent frost damage. This is a spun polyester type fabric that is lightweight enough to not break or smash your plants, but retains ground heat enough to prevent frost damage unless temperatures drop too low.

Hot caps are an old-fashioned paper "cap" that you can stake down over small tender plants on frosty nights.

If you don't have any of these things, put a bucket over the tomato plants and weight it down with a rock.

Good gardening!

Posted on 4 May 2007

Maggie Wolf
Horticulture Agent, Salt Lake County

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