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Daniel Patterson, William Hayslett and Sabrina Shaw

The objective of this study was to determine if different mulches would affect days to flowering or prolong the fall growth for tomatoes Lycopersicon esculentum. The mulches used were: black plastic, white plastic and straw. The tomatoes were transplanted to the field on 20 September 1990. Diurnal atmospheric and soil (just under the mulch) temperatures were taken at 12:00 noon. Average daily soil temperatures in September were 24°C, 22.5°C, 22°C and 21.5°C for black plastic, white plastic, the control, and straw respectively. Average soil temperatures ranged from 28.5°C for black plastic to 24.5°C for the straw treatments. Temperatures in October and November were 3 to 4 degrees lower for soils and between 4 to 7 degrees lower for the atmosphere. Average days to flowering were 68, 70, 68.5, and 75 for black plastic, white plastic, control, and straw treatments respectively. The average growth per plant were 20.5, 22.5, 25.9, and 12.5 centimeters for black plastic, white plastic. control. and straw respectively.