by David Salman
It’s no secret that tomatoes are the most popular of all the vegetable crops for the home gardener. Indeed, few plants can inspire the passion and devotion lavished on the tomato. I love a good homegrown tomato as much as the next person and always try to plant a few plants in my small home vegetable garden. I admit that I too have been “bitten” by the tomato bug and have increased the number of varieties, both heirloom and hybrid that I grow.
Our high elevation climate in Santa Fe (we’re at 6,800 ft. above sea level) is not ideal for growing this plant. In fact, we had a late frost this year reaching a night low of 30°F on May 24th! Our shorter growing season and cool to cold nights requires that we grow tomatoes adapted to these conditions. Trying to get a head start on this season’s crop, I decided to use the new red plastic Kozy Coat water filled insulating teepees. Good decision! The results have been amazing. Not only did my tomatoes inside their Kozy Coats make it through the frost (and weeks of cold nights) unharmed, but their rate of growth have been phenomenal and they are already in bloom. I even have some tomatoes ripening down inside the Kozy Coats!
The water filled cells are warmed by absorb the sun’s infra-red radiation during the day and radiate the heat back to the plants at night. Research has established that red light also accelerates the growth of tomato plants. So by using the red Kozy Coats the plants get the benefit of warmth and red. They also are excellent for your prized pepper plants as well.
It may be too late to use these amazing mini-greenhouses on your tomato plants for this season, but I would unequivocally recommend they be on your shopping list for planting next year’s crop.