In the garden: Protect transplants from the wind

Scott Eckert

Hopefully you are planning to wait until May to plant your tomato plants so they will not be killed by a late April freeze.  If not, you can always purchase more, garden centers love you for it!  New transplants, even those hardened off in a cold frame, may need protection from strong winds when set out. Wooden shingles placed to block the wind used to be recommended but are now difficult to find. Try a plastic milk jug or a 2-liter soda bottle with both the bottom and top cut off. Push the jug or bottle into the soil far enough so it won’t blow away. In windy conditions, it may need to be stabilized with a wooden dowel or metal rod.

Tomato plants require both warm soil and warm air temperatures for rapid growth.

You may have plants that are too big for a milk jug or 2-liter bottle.  In that case you can use a small bucket or a leftover large plant container that once had a tree in it you planted years ago.  Just cut the bottom off these containers and press into the ground far enough so they do not to blow away from the wind and tall enough to give good protection.

Be sure to remove the container when the plants are out of harm’s way to make harvesting your tomato fruit easier!

Scott Eckert

— Scott Eckert is a Kansas State Research and Extension Agent for Harvey County. Horticulture is his specialty. He can be reached at 316-284-6930.