Left to right, plastic milk container, cardboard milk container (I can get three from one half-gallon container}, plastic crema Mexicana container, other half of milk container, and plastic food container with bottom cut from it.
About now people are putting out their tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. When I put mine out, I “baby” them for at least a week. First I harden them off by taking them outside for the day, later increasing to 24 hours. I put a row cover over them at night. This gives an additional 20 degrees. Others have been growing in the greenhouse and get taken out in containers. I put a crate over them to protect them from the intense sun.
Then I put them in the ground. With peppers and tomatoes, I dig a hole, put in some compost, 1 T of epsom salts, water, and then put the soil around the plant. I put tac straw around the plant– an inch or more in thickness. Then I cover with a crate for a day or two while it acclimates.
After I take off the crate, I put protection around the plant. I just use recyclables, as shown in the picture above. I made them a couple days ago when it was raining and I couldn’t do much outside.
Even after all this, I still might put a screen over the young plants during the hottest parts of the day.
about the heat – as you mention – because after 45 degree nights, it’s supposed to hit 90 tomorrow here in NH. The tomatoes I put in the ground over the past couple of days will Not like 90 with strong sun. I’ll need shade to keep them cool.
If you have a spot where the leaves still have some coldness and are still a bit wet, I think that would go a long way with a milk crate over the top. Just put the leaves around the plant. Maybe prop up the carton a little on the side for ventilation. If you have a white crate, that would be better than a black.
I jut planted my usual tomatoes, basil, peppers and herbs, this time adding cucumbers and zucchini. My protection now is primarily from ground hogs, and currently is limited to bending large chicken air over zucchinis, then putting some netting over that cage. I find myself planting sooner this year, so put it in a few days ago.
Good luck handling these big swings in temperature. It acclimated mine outside for a while. We have so much rain here, it seems, that I’m beginning to think SW PA is a sweet spot for longer growing seasons without scorching peak hours, if you do it right…