Am I suffocating my plants?

Last night, with the weather forecast predicting lows in the 40s, a friend suggested I cover my tomato and pepper plants. I put dry cleaner plastic over the tomatos and glass jars over the peppers. This morning, with the weather forecast predicting showers and highs in the mid 50s, I decided I could just leave the plants covered. I figured the plastic would divert any rainwater to the base of the tomato and I could water the peppers tomorrow.
Now at work, however, I began to wonder if leaving the peppers under the glass jars would deprive them of oxygen? The plants are small, not more than 4 or 5 inches tall and the jars are inverted resting directly on the soil.
Should I have removed the jars, or at least raised them slightly off the ground? And are the tomatos ok?
Tia, tmo
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On 5/26/06 8:51 AM, in article snipped-for-privacy@j73g2000cwa.googlegroups.com, "tmo"

consume it. If you are worried about such things, oxygen which is not used in quantity is in about 20% concentration, while carbon dioxide which is used in quantity by green plants is in less than 0.1% concentration.
Bill -- Ferme le Bush
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Oxygen isn't a problem, but heat might be. Think about how hot a car gets on a sunny day. If you get home and they're wilted, give them some water and see if they perk up the next day.
Penelope
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Phew, I guess I'm so obsessed with oxygen I just figured my plants would be as well.
This is my first yeasr planting vegetables so there is much to be learned.
Thanks for your replies.
-tmo
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tmo wrote: "Last night, with the weather forecast predicting lows in the 40s, a friend suggested I cover my tomato and pepper plants. I put dry cleaner plastic over the tomatos and glass jars over the peppers."
Plastic is not a good material to protect plants from frost or freeze. Cold is easily transmitted through it and plant tissue will be damaged where there/s direct contact.
Glass cloches work well, but should be removed or propped open in the morning to prevent overheating during the afternoon.
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Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately it was around 7:00 in the evening when I was advised to cover the plants so there weren't a lot of options.
A couple of follow up questions: 1. where does one find cloches for plants about 18 inches tall and maybe 12 inches in diameter? 2. At what temperature can I stop worrying about needing to cover the plants (tomatos, peppers & cukes) at night?
TIA, tmo
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tmo wrote:

My tomatoes and peppers are in a greenhouse where it has gotten down to 3 degrees celcius (37F) with no problem. I won't put them outside until I can be assured of a night time temp of around 8 to 10 degrees celcius (around 50F).
Your local nursery might have some climate control items - you are not limited to glass cloches (which would most likely be no good for plants that big).
Leevalley.com ships to both the US and Canada and has several options like these cool little plastic cloches with a hole in the top:
http://www.leevalley.com/garden/page.aspx?c=1&p536&cat=2,2030
Or these frost protectors (that fit your dimensions):
http://www.leevalley.com/garden/page.aspx?c=1&p535&cat=2,2030
I also cut up my old row covers and use them as protectors for my potted plants.
..
Zone 5a in Canada's Far East.
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You can stop worrying completely about frost damage to tomats, peppers, and cukes about a week after the average date of your area/s last frost.
One thing all gardeners should keep in mind about frost is it can occur when the morning low temperature is forecast as high as 38F (~3C) with lighty wind b/c temperature readings are taken ~5' AGL (~3m) and it can be 6F (~1.5C) colder on the ground.
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TQ said:

Also take note of the sky and the dew point.
In my experience, those late patchy frosts have come on clear nights with lows predicted for the upper thirties and dew points near 32 F (0 C).
--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

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If all you're looking for is temporary frost protection, throw an old sheet doubled up, or an old towel over the plants. I keep a stack of old linens for just that purpose, although I use them more in the fall than the spring.
If you want an early start, you might try one of the "Wall O' Water" type products.
http://www.wallowater.com /
http://www.seedsofchange.com/garden_center/product_details.asp?item_no=PS15689
http://tinyurl.com/c3p4q
Most seed companies carry some. Or you can get the smaller ones of these: http://www.flowerhouses.com/intro.shtml

Be careful rushing your peppers, they really don't like having their feet cold. I wait until there's a week of 50 F night's in the long range forecasts before I'll put mine out. Oh, they'll probably do ok in cooler weather, but they do become more susceptible to disease, and often don't produce as well as they might for the rest of the season.
As to the other, in the fall when I'm trying to extend the season, I cover mine if the temperatures are going to be 35 F or below. Also, if the wind is blowing and it's in the low 40's, I will probably cover enough of the ones on the windward side to make a wind break. Cold wind can be almost as bad as frost or a freeze.
Penelope
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Amen.
Peppers and tomats will survive just fine when night-time temps dip below 50F (10C), but they won/t thrive. My experience has shown season-long production is much better when the plants are set later than sooner when the wx has taken a turn for the warmer.
I prefer to wait until the average low temp is at least 55F, which in my Zone 7 mid-Atlantic coastal plain woods is mid-May. Trouble is, one never knows in mid-March when I/m sowing seeds in flats under lights whether the target temp will happen a week early (like last year), a week late (like this year), or right on time (like the long-term average).
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