The Q&A Archives: Planting Tomatoes

Question: I think I planted my Burpee tomato plants too early. I get too excited! I planted 8 weeks ago inside. They are getting big! When can I plant them outside? It's still in the 40's outside at night. What do you suggest?

Answer: It's easy to get over enthusiastic when starting seeds, so you have lots of company in that department! You can plant your tomatoes outdoors now if you provide protection from cold night air, or you can take your plants outdoors during the day and bring them back in at night until nighttime temperatures hover close to 50F.

Depending upon the size of the plants, you might be able to make portable cloches for them out of one-gallon milk jugs. Cut the bottoms out of the jugs and take the lid off. Then place a jug over each plant after the sun goes down in the afternoon and take them off the following morning. Don't leave them on all day or you'll cook your plants! If they're too large for milk jugs, make a cylinder of chicken wire for each plant and cover it with plastic. You can leave these on all day and all night for a few weeks until the weather warms up a bit. Hope that warm weather comes soon!

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