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 Post subject: Bad weather forecast for high altitude tomato growers
Post Posted: May 27, 2019 3:40 pm 
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I have been looking at various websites for long term weather forecasts for Pinecamland
Each indicate that our temperatures this summer are likely to drop below 50 degrees EVERY NIGHT. :yikes:

Yep every night, all summer long. :thud:
Please, be wrong! Please, please, please! :praying:

Many of you already know that most varieties of tomato will not set fruit if the blossoms are exposed to temperatures below 50-55 degrees (or above 85 degrees). When it is too cool or too warm the pollen cells start to quickly die off, rendering the flower sterile, therefore no fruit.

So unless you have a greenhouse/cold frame, or a warmer micro-climate, or growing cool weather variety tomatoes, then tomato yields are going to be very, very low this year. I'm so sad.

Cool season varieties (such as Oregon Spring, Sasha's Altai, Stupice, etc.) can handle temps down to about 45! So those might do okay this year.

But just because your tomato is an early variety, like the wonderful Early Girl, does not mean it is also a cool season variety.

Fingers crossed that the predictions are wrong...


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 Post subject: Re: Bad weather forecast for high altitude tomato growers
Post Posted: May 28, 2019 5:21 am 
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I am not surprised, though a bit bummed. I cannot remember such a cold spring since maybe 1994 when we had snow in June. Uggh.

I neglected my tomato starts during my old dog’s illness, so I cheated and took advantage of a clearance sale at White Flower Farm and have six nice, healthy and actually flowering tomato plants. If it does not warm up, I may offer them to those of you who have a greenhouse or sheltered area.

I don’t think it will be a good year for cukes or squash either. Uggh.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad weather forecast for high altitude tomato growers
Post Posted: May 28, 2019 6:00 am 
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mummydog wrote:
I don’t think it will be a good year for cukes or squash either. Uggh.

You are probably right. :thud:

Hey girlfriend, buying starter plants is not "cheating". It's what we need to do when life gets in the way of starting our own seeds.

Many of my starters have also taken a toll this Spring due to dog illness & passing as well as my own health challenges. During years like this it is a blessing to be able to get starter plants from friends, neighbors and nurseries.

BTW, tomato starters really need to have their blossoms pinched off until the plant is in it's final container or bed. Yes it is nice to have those first early tomatoes, but they are at the expense of all/most future tomatoes.

Once a tomato, pepper, eggplant plant starts to make fruit it is no longer interested in growing more roots. So when it is repotted it does not take advantage of more root space. The plant then never reaches full potential and is susceptible to all sorts of problems.

So as hard as it is to do, remove all flowers/fruit until after the final transplant.

But if you simply can't do it, then transplant into the lightest (lest compacted) loam soil you can create that is also very rich in compost. Then add a natural root stimulator (search internet for various methods) and fed with compost tea, fish emulsion and other non-chemical fertilizers. Mid-season side dress with compost.

Let's hope we can all get a decent harvest this year, despite the weather.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad weather forecast for high altitude tomato growers
Post Posted: May 28, 2019 9:09 am 
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The latest outlook from the Climate Prediction Center calls for average to below average temps and above average precip for the June through August time frame. This will likely translate to a cool and wet summer for much of CO. Not such good news for gardening, but good news for fire danger. We may still have a few hot and dry spells in between the cool and wet periods.

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 Post subject: Re: Bad weather forecast for high altitude tomato growers
Post Posted: May 29, 2019 6:32 am 
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Thanks wxgeek. Your prediction map doesn't look quite as bad as the daily charts I was looking at for 80433, 80470 & 80421 for night time lows.

I am super happy to have lower day time highs! That will be totally awesome! :multi:
If it never gets above 65 I would be in heaven!!!
But lower night time lows is what I'm concerned about for the flowering vegetables.

My garden at 9000ft typically has summer night time temps in the mid to high 40s, which requires that I cover the outdoor tomatoes every night. So a cooler than average summer means I'll have to confine all the maters to the greenhouse. Bummer.

Those of you at lower elevations will hopefully have a better chance with outdoor tomato growing if you are growing cool season varieties. It will be very interesting to see how the Conifer Community garden fares with tomatoes this year.

Has everyone seen the tomato starters at Moore Lumber in Pine? They look rather healthy. I did not pay attention to which varieties they are carrying this year but it may be worth checking out.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad weather forecast for high altitude tomato growers
Post Posted: May 29, 2019 7:23 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Bad weather forecast for high altitude tomato growers
Post Posted: May 29, 2019 5:24 pm 
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Boy that's fer sure. I think we've gone past bipolar to sociopathic. A serial tomato killer at high elevations.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad weather forecast for high altitude tomato growers
Post Posted: May 29, 2019 5:29 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Bad weather forecast for high altitude tomato growers
Post Posted: May 30, 2019 9:21 am 
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CooknThyme wrote:
I have been looking at various websites for long term weather forecasts for Pinecamland
Each indicate that our temperatures this summer are likely to drop below 50 degrees EVERY NIGHT. :yikes:

Yep every night, all summer long. :thud:
Please, be wrong! Please, please, please! :praying:

Many of you already know that most varieties of tomato will not set fruit if the blossoms are exposed to temperatures below 50-55 degrees (or above 85 degrees). When it is too cool or too warm the pollen cells start to quickly die off, rendering the flower sterile, therefore no fruit.

So unless you have a greenhouse/cold frame, or a warmer micro-climate, or growing cool weather variety tomatoes, then tomato yields are going to be very, very low this year. I'm so sad.

Cool season varieties (such as Oregon Spring, Sasha's Altai, Stupice, etc.) can handle temps down to about 45! So those might do okay this year.

But just because your tomato is an early variety, like the wonderful Early Girl, does not mean it is also a cool season variety.

Fingers crossed that the predictions are wrong...


I have my tomatoes in pots and will have them on my south deck that gets very warm during the day when the sun is out. If I cover them at night will they be okay? I hear the time to set them out is Father's Day but what if it is still too cool?


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 Post subject: Re: Bad weather forecast for high altitude tomato growers
Post Posted: May 30, 2019 10:45 am 
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Imagemaker wrote:
I have my tomatoes in pots and will have them on my south deck that gets very warm during the day when the sun is out. If I cover them at night will they be okay? I hear the time to set them out is Father's Day but what if it is still too cool?


Up against a south facing wall is the best place to grow tomatoes outdoors, especially when you live at high altitude.

The wall will retain some heat (especially if it is stone/brick) and reflect it back at night. A light cover at night will trap some of that heat! Adding some jugs of water around the pot will provide additional evening heat.

You must wait until the risk of frost has past. Even a light frost can kill a tomato. So if the forecast is for temps below 40, I would not risk it.

Father's Day is just an estimate. There are so many micro climates up here, only you can determine when it is right at your specific location.

I'm at 9000 ft and mid-June is still too early for my garden some years. But then there have been times when I've been able to put tomatoes out Memorial day weekend. You just got to watch the weather report closely. I watch the forecast for Leadville to determine what I need to do for my outdoor veggies. It adds just enough conservatism (about 2-5 degrees cooler) for my location.

So if you do all that and have cool season varieties, you can expect some good results. Even when this season is predicted to be cooler than usual.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad weather forecast for high altitude tomato growers
Post Posted: May 30, 2019 12:29 pm 
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Thanks I feel a bit more hopeful :)


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