What to do after a frost gets young tomato plants?
Due to an early sunny spring here in PA, my wife and i planted tomatoes and green bell peppers on may 7th. Then on the news was a frost warning and everyone i knew was in panic because they planted too! With a low of 31 degrees i didn't cover anything but remain calm about it figuring that an early sun would melt it up and the plants had a little more morning drink! To my surprise that is what happened!!! no frost on the windshield of my car and were good to go! The next night i checked the weather. chilly with a low 33 degrees. well again was not worried about it because the night before turned out great with a lower temp and everything was fine. To my surprise that is NOT what happened!!! There was frost every where and now on the 20th i still have somewhat damaged/dying tomato and pepper plants. Ive been told they'll bounce back...??? If they do how long does it take them? should i prune the dead/dying leaves off the plants and the ones that don't make it, replace? Any advice is appreciated, thanks in advance!
my experience has been that they are done for if eveen moderately damaged. I would replace the plants and chalk it up to a garden lesson learned the hard way... Tomatos are tropical plants which can be damaged severely by cold temps even if it doesn't freeze. I do not plant mine in the ground until night temps will reliably stay above 5 degrees celcius at a minimum. planting in pots is less of a risk as they are more easily moved to shelter. if you wish to plant early and get a headstart next year, plant a few in pots and then wait for warmer temps to plant the rest in the real garden.
still plenty of time top replant the severely damaged ones.
good luck and here's to warmer weather!
Plant 10-14 days after last frost date
Check your local extension or a region map for recommended planting dates. Tomatoes do best when planted about 10-14 days after the last frost date.
Make sure itís consistently warm both day and night. (Tomatoes donít like to be cold.)
Kathy at tomatodirt
@Randolph: I am sure that your tomato plants will bounce back with some care. If they get some good sun then they should start getting better and green in around two weeks time.
You must remove the leaves from the plant which are completely dead immediately. Slightly green or half dead leaves should not be removed.
Planting in pots or square foot pots is a nice way to stay away from frost. Putting a light cover over the tomato fields also does the trick and save you trouble.
Hope it helps :)