Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Still Useful to Plant in Wall O' Waters

Denver is receiving more sun and temperatures have warmed this week. That doesn't mean that it is ideal weather for planting tomatoes and other warm season vegetable transplants. Nighttime temperatures are still falling into the forties, far below the 50 F (and better yet 55 F) degrees nighttime temperature requirement for tomatoes. Note that the vine crops (squash, melons, pumpkins, etc. require 60 F degree nights).

A week after water channels filled at 
setup of Wall O' Water, sun has warmed water
sufficiently for planting within WOW cone. 
Plant deep for rooting along stem of this leggy 
tomato transplant.
So what's a gardener to do? You may have raised tomatoes from seed on your windowsill or purchased at a plant sale and the transplants are getting leggy. This is where Wall O' Waters come to the rescue. Even though often thought of for use in planting in the garden in April, they are still useful now.

Unlike mid-May when cloudy skies provided little solar radiation for heating the water in the tube walls of the Wall O' Waters, we are now receiving more sunlight. This provides warmth at night offsetting still cold night temperatures. Planting in Wall O' Waters also provides protection from wind and a sheltered environment for recovery from transplant shock.

Another benefit is protection from hail until plants grow above the walls. Even then plants pruned to the top of the Wall O' Waters by hail will retain enough undamaged plant within the Wall O' Waters to regrow.

If warm season transplants are planted in the open now without protection, they recover from transplant shock slowly and become stunted. We are assuming that night temperatures remain above freezing. They will require a week or more to recover from cold night stunting even when night temperatures warm above 50 to 55 degrees F in June. Although plants are leggy, you may be better off keeping them in pots and bringing them indoors at night until night temperatures warm if you aren't using Wall O' Waters.

See the manufacturer's website for more information on Wall O' Waters. Look to purchase them at your favorite local garden center.

Photo credit: Leggy tomato transplant for planting in Wall O' Water - Carl Wilson

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