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Garden fleece

JasseJasse Posts: 3
I am growing tomatoes in an unheated greenhouse using a heated propogater. Now that they have germinated I have taken the lid off as I don't want to over humidify them. I still want to protect them from frost (particularly at night) so will still keep the propogator on. Was wondering if keeping them covered with  garden fleece instead of the lid during cold/frosty spells would help. I live in fairly high ground in N. Ireland and it can get fairly cold at night even in April early May

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  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,826
    Rather than use fleece which is plastic based and ends up as teeny fragments swallowed by fish in the oceans, put the propagator lid back on just at night or cover with a big sheet of cardboard across the propagator at night.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,076
    Tomatoes only grow well within a limited temperature range : 12C to 24 or 25C I believe.
    I know the 12 is correct, as I struggle to attain it early in the year and even in summer when it comes to planting out. The upper limit is less ingrained, as much less likely to overshoot where I live. :)
    I start mine in a heated propagator too, but then remove them to a south facing windowsill to grow on. My back porch becomes a mini conservatory as they get larger, and they finally make it to the greenhouse when they are bigger & stronger.
    I usually keep it frost free, but didn't this year and was pleasantly surprised to find it didn't drop below zero even in a seriously cold spell and losses have been minimal.
    That said, mine is a lean-to built against a thick stone wall,  which retains any available heat, sheltered from the east winds (whence the arctic weather) and it is 12x8 so a good volume of air, all things which help even out temperature differences.
    You may find it is different with your greenhouse, a max/min thermometer is a useful guide. Perhaps if need be, you could knock up an indoor frame, line with polystyrene and cover with bubble wrap to let light in, to help your plants through the chilly days and nights until summer finally arrives. Until then, annexe any windowsills you can, to keep them warm and get them growing :)
  • JasseJasse Posts: 3
    Thanks Obelixx
    I take your point on the use of plastic based products. However, the concern I have with using a lid while the propogator is still heated would be too much humidity leading to dampening off. I still want some form of air circulation and to a point using a cardboard box would certainly seem like an idea.
  • JasseJasse Posts: 3
    Thanks Buttercup 

    Sounds like our environment is not dissimilar. I had considered planting them indoors and placing on windowsill (may still do so), but I don't have a south facing window apart from one upstairs bedroom. I do have a very large sun room though with large windows which throw in plenty of light, but again it is shaded from the south by the rest of the house. I do have a max/min thermometer. Again, my greenhouse, which I only purchased this year (hence my question in the first place) is similar to yours (14 × 8). It is situated with the ends running east to west with the side getting  unobstructed sun for the best part of the day. I suppose it is best to try some of the  options suggested by you and others and see how they go. I plan to put in a couple of electric tube heaters next year and possibly they will help with a bit of local warmth in the future.
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