Frosty Tomatoes

Hello
Over the long weekend the weather was damp but reasonably warm, so I spent all weekend getting the garden in to shape.
I had 10 tomato plants of various types growing happily inside and hardening hardening off for a few days so in to the garden they went.
They looked fine until the weather folks warned of some frost. I laid clear plastic over the plants with a length of twine (making a makeshift 'tent"). I also cut the bottoms off of some water jugs and placed them over a few of the ones I couldn't reach with the plastic.
The first morning I pulled the tents off and they looked unscathed by the cold. Frost was again forecast for this morning and I repeated the procedure but today some of the plants look droopy with some dark green patches (ie looks like they may have frozen).
There weather is supposed to warm up considerably for the next week or so, without any additional frost warnings.
I'm wondering if the tomatoes are salvageable, or should I cut my losses and go buy some transplants. If they are, is there anything I can do to help them along. I've read a few bits that say go light on the watering and they may recover.
Your thoughts are appreciated.
--
The Good Friar


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Friar Donk, if it's plant now or don't have a crop, then the answer is easy, otherwise, give it a few days to see what happens. If you think there is some life left in the vines try a low nitrogen fertilizer, like you would when the tomatoes are ready to bear. The potassium and the phosphate will strengthen the vine without putting its' energy into growth. Also, put some black plastic (garbage bags come to mind, you may even be able to reuse them for their original purpose later) around the vines, flat on the ground to help warm-up the soil. If after a week, the vines seem stabilized, give them a nice dose of fish emulsion, maybe half strength. I guess the worst that could happen would be if they hung-on but didn't grow. I'm sure you know your time table for crops or maybe the lady from Avalon could advise you. If you have time wait. If it is now or never, replant. Next time try to put a gallon jug of water under the tents with the plant. Water freezes at 30 F, which releases heat of crystallization and the ice jumps back up to 32 F. As long as you are making ice, you are making heat. It works for grapes and citrus. May the force be with you.
- Bill Coloribus gustibus non disputatum (mostly)
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