In last week’s column, you mentioned using plant covers and plastic mulch to speed growth of tomatoes and other warm season vegetables. Could you explain how they speed growth?
Plant covers and plastic mulch speed growth of warm season vegetables by creating warmer air temperatures and soil temperatures around the plants. Both have additional benefits.
Warm vs. cool
It is easy to differentiate between warm and cool weather vegetables. If you eat the fruit of the vegetable, it is a warm season vegetable. Two exceptions are potatoes and sweet potatoes which are both warm season vegetables.
If you eat the root, stems, leaves or flower buds, it is a cool season vegetable. The two exceptions are peas and fava beans.
Cool season vegetables like our cool night temperatures. Their maturity ratings tend to be accurate here. They are also frost-tolerant and can usually be planted up to six weeks before the average last frost date.