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Planting tomatoes too early

Here's one from the mailbag that probably will be of help to many of you who got antsy because of all the warm weather and jumped the gun.

Hi, Jessica,

I planted some tomatoes and eggplants in pots, but I am afraid I started a bit too soon. I probably should have waited another week. Any suggestions?  Loyda Fiorenza, Seaford

If they are outdoors, bring them in and keep them by a sunny window. An overnight frost, which is still possible, could kill them. We've all been tempted to plant early because of the mild weather but there's no guarantee it won't get cold again.

You could take a chance and leave them outdoors as they are, but you'd be risking losing them and having to start over. I wouldn't set them outdoors until the second week of May — at the earliest.

If they're too big to bring in, you can cover them during cold spells and at night with garden fabric that's sold as Floating Row Covers or simply Row Covers. They are made of polypropylene, so a good amount of sunlight penetrates them to reach plants and they keep plants warm and shielded from wind. You should be able to find them at most large nurseries. Good luck!

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