Every gardener should be aware of the lowest temperature for tomatoes and peppers to save them before the frost season begins.
Gardening is not for the faint-hearted; sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s smooth. This is true more so when you think about the right time to plant your crop, especially if it does not do well in frost.
Suppose you have plenty of decent gardening and realize that the weather is threatening with an early frost you have to protect it. Tomatoes and peppers are some of the crops that do not do well in the winter season. You have to harvest them before the frost falls and try to ripen them indoors. You can save your plants right in the garden by building a shade over them to extend the gardening season.
If you are trying to grow tomatoes, eggplant, or peppers, it is essential to learn what is the lowest temperature these plants can take. In this article, we will look at both the lowest and the highest temperatures that these plants are able to survive under.
Lowest Temperatures For Tomatoes And Peppers
According to the USDA Research Service, tomatoes show problems when temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool nighttime temperatures interfere with the tomato’s ability to convert the sunlight into sugars via a process known as photosynthesis.
Low temperatures also reduce pollen production in tomatoes and peppers, resulting in less fruit production or fruits deformation. You may also experience scars and cracks on the bottom end of your fruit that occur during the night when temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Protecting Your Tomatoes And Peppers From The Lowest Temperatures
To protect your tomato and pepper plants from frost, you will need two things – sturdy garden stakes or tomato cages and bubble wrap. The garden stakes or tomato cages will form the structure that will allow you to wrap the bubble wrap around, protecting your plants.
Ensure that your bubble wrap is firm so that it doesn’t cause a mess of your tomato and pepper plants. Choose a study structure long enough to cover your tomato plant’s height. You can install the cage once you plant or over the existing plants towards the end of the season with ease.
Once you have the tomato cage over the plant, wrap the bubble wrap around the cage and use duct tape to secure it in place. Wrap it around the cage, starting from the ground level all the way up to a few inches above the top of the plant. Ensure that you cover the top of the plant as well.
The sturdy structure and bubble wrap are enough to protect your plants until their harvest time. But to avoid all the hassle, ensure that you plant your tomatoes and peppers at the right time. If you realize that you are late, it is essential to look for varieties that easily stand lower temperatures.
Germination And Growing Temperatures For Tomatoes And Peppers
Can pepper plants survive frost? The minimum temperature to germinate and grow tomatoes and peppers is at least 15 degrees Centigrade. However, germination will happen faster when the temperature is above 20 to 24 degrees centigrade.
The pepper temperature tolerance for nighttime weather is around 13.5 degrees centigrade. However, the daytime temperature should not fall below 15 degrees Centigrade for a week or more. If this happens, you will get stunted crops.
If the nighttime temperatures drop below 13.5 degrees centigrade, a few things go wrong. Pollen fails to develop, and flowers that open the following morning do not set fruit.
That said, the ideal temperature for growing tomatoes and peppers should range between 20 degrees and 24 degrees centigrade.
We can now clearly answer the question ‘can peppers survive frost’ from the above information.
Tomato Varieties For Cooler Climates
Generally, tomatoes require a favorable temperature between 15 degrees to 32 degrees Centigrade to survive. However, there are specific tomato varieties purposely bred for cooler climates with the ability to tolerate temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The best choices for such weather are short to mid-season tomatoes.
These tomatoes set fruit in cooler temperatures and reach maturity in the shortest number of days, around 52 to 70 days. Some hybrid examples include:
- Golden nugget
- Subarctic plenty tomato
- Husky gold
- Orange pixie
- Oregon spring
- Some heirloom varieties include
- Bush beefsteak
- New Yorker
- Gregori’s Altai
Tomato Varieties For Hot Regions
When we talk about the lowest temperatures for tomatoes and peppers, it would be good to also talk about the right tomatoes for the hot regions.
Temperatures that rise above 27 degrees centigrade, cause both tomatoes and peppers to suffer from too much heat. When they hit 32 degrees centigrade, the fruits will fail to set, and you will lose productivity on your plants. Countries or regions that enjoy a hot climate pushes tomato and pepper farmers to grow them under shade.
The heat-tolerant varieties that you can grow in these regions include:
- Bella Rosa
- Sunny Bell
- Big beef
- Mountain crest
- Solar fire
- Fourth of July
- Super fantastic
- Sweet 100
- Arkansas traveler
- Green zebra
So How Do You Solve The Temperature Problem In Tomatoes And Peppers
Although there is not much you can do about a change of temperatures, especially these days of climate change; you can try a few remedies
First, don’t plant your peppers and tomatoes in the wrong season
Second, ensure the soil is at the proper temperatures when growing.
Besides planting cold-hardy tomato varieties, you can also cover your peppers and tomatoes with a structure to keep the fruit warm until it matures and ripens.
Dark plastic coverings raise the temperatures by 5 to 10 degrees, while clear plastic coverings warm the tomatoes by up to 20 degrees. Using either of the coverings is enough to save your tomatoes and pepper crop
Temperature change is one of the adverse effects on plants that affect their health and productivity. It is critical to prevent your crop from both the hot and cold weather extremes that face all gardeners at different times of the year.
All the best as you work to overcome climate change that could be detrimental to your crop.