Early start of planting time in the greenhouse
For happy owners of a greenhouse, the planting time begins in mid / late April. In a protected atmosphere under glass, belated ground frosts have little chance of harming the tomatoes. Provided that the cultivation took place in the house at a constant 18 to 24 degrees Celsius. If you want to be on the safe side, create a natural 'manure heater' before planting. This trick works like this:
- dig the soil in the greenhouse about 70 centimeters deep
- Put a manure pack in it, ideally made from horse manure, and stamp it well
- Spread a 20-30 centimeter thick layer of compost on top
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While the manure rots, a pleasant warmth develops. This is transferred to the greenhouse so that the room remains frost-free without additional energy supply.
Go outdoors from mid-May
For generations, the exodus of the ice saints has heralded the beginning of the planting season in the vegetable patch. From mid-May, no more ground frosts are expected, which could seriously affect the young tomato plants. In particularly rough locations, it is still advisable to protect the bed overnight with a garden fleece. A foil tunnel (€ 7.94 at Amazon *) is particularly effective in protecting tomato plants from frostbite, which is closed during the night.
Individual plants on the balcony find effective protection from the cold under special tomato covers. These are made of weatherproof foil and have air holes to prevent mold from forming. It is important to note that spacers keep the canopy away from the leaves and flowers. At the same time, these mini tomato houses keep the rain out and minimize the risk of late blight infection.
Appointment is not the only criterion
Experienced hobby gardeners know that the calendar alone is not sufficient as a basis for making decisions about when to start planting. Only the strongest tomato plants can cope with the stresses outdoors, on the balcony and in the unheated greenhouse. Only the interaction of the following factors signals the final start of the season in the open air:
- the minimum temperature of 13 degrees Celsius is exceeded permanently
- the perfect tomato plant is 30 to 40 centimeters high
- ideally a first umbel has formed
- There was a one-week toughening process, during the day in the partially shaded place in the garden or on the balcony
- the plant has not or only minimally decayed
An unheated greenhouse without 'manure heating' can be protected from night frost with a simple trick. Simply set up several grave lights. These burn down safely and give off enough heat to function as frost guards.