Iddee, i think it depends on the temp. they are in. When i go to the greenhouse that grows my plants for me and i don't think the are big enough, they tell me to come back in 3 or 4 days that they would turn the heat up on them.When i go back they have almost doubled in size. Jack
We hope to start ours this week. We usually get them started a little sooner but we are running behind. I like them to be pretty good sized when I put them in the big garden because I plant them deep. As long as you can keep them warm and keep air moving across them they should turn out good and healthy. What varieties are you gonna put in?
Iddee, in your area i think mama beek would be about right. I like my plants around 10 in. to 12 in. high, i pench all the leaves of the stem but the top three lay the plant in a shallow trench and bury all but the top 4in. to 5in. this gives the plant a good root system. Not many gardeners know the two types of plants,determinate (blooms and bares once,gets around 3ft. tall) and indeterminate (blooms and bares till frost some can get 8ft or more). My best sellers are Pink Girl (indeterminate), Mountain Fresh (determinate). I never plant till May 10 (last frost date) for my truck patch. Jack
That is how I plant mine also, deep. I dig a deep hole throw in some 6-12-12 to promote a good root system, a big splash of water, fill in with dirt and tamp them down. After they get up and going side dress with 19-19-19.
I have good luck with the beef steak, better boys and early girls.
I use tomato baskets made out of concrete reinforcement wire.
(note to self...self,you must go visiting more often this summer)
BTW, I read a tip the other day...instead of buying those little peat pots, just use toilet paper and paper towel rolls. You can get two planters out of toilet paper rolls and 3 or 4 out of paper towel rolls.
Fill with starting soil while they are in planting trays and once you get ready to plant them in the ground, just uncoild the carboard in the hole so the roots don't get crunched up.
It has been years since I started tomatoes from seed. When we raised a tobbacco bed on one end we would sprinkler out tomatoe seed and lettuce seed. Back then an acre of tomatoes is what I would put out and the lettuce was very nice grown under a cheese cloth cover.
When we plant the tomatoes we go through a whole routine every time....except last year, and for sure I learned my lesson. We always let them get to be at least 6 or 8 inches tall, bigger if I can. Take off all but the last few leaves on top and plant it really deep. I dig the hole and put into it a big handful of dried out crush eggshells, an aspirin, a handful of epsom salt, and a smaller handful of powdered milk. Make some compost tea, or manure tea and water every day with it until the plants are off to a good start. We have the best luck when we set them out under hot caps (milk jugs with the bottom cut out) and let them adjust gradually to being outside.
I have seeds for Brandywine, mortage lifter, cherokee purple, red and yellow pear, and a few other varieties I don't remember right off the top of my head. I'm hoping to grow enough to put up at least 75 quarts of crushed tomatoes and at least that much in sauce this year. I'm not crazy about the determinate types since I rarely get enough out of them, the indeterminate ones lay off producing during the hottest months here, but then when it cools back down we start getting great harvests again all the way up until mid November.
I cut off 5 ft. pieces of concrete reinforcement wire and place them end to end over th top of a 200ft. or 300ft. roll of tomatoes (the determinaie type). They will grow up through the wire and spread out over the wire, that keeps the tomatoes up off the ground. I first plant tomatoes in a straight roll,place a soaker hose along side them,then put a 2ft. wide piece of plastic along each side of the tomatoe roll. I then put straw or tree leaves between the tomatoes to cover the gap between the pastic. I then place the concrete reinforcement wire over the top,sticking the sharp pronges left when cutting the 5ft. pieces, into the plastic to hold it in place I buy the 50ft rolls of black plastic 4ft wide and cut it down the middle to get the two ft. pieces. The mountain fresh tomatoe can produce a half a bushel or more this way. (good size red tomatoe). :thumbsup: Jack
Jack, I have been wracking my brain to try and figure out how I want to grow my tomatoes this year. I don't want anything to do with cages and stakes. I happen to have 2 or 3 massive rolls of the concrete wire you're talking about, but I can't picture in my head what it is you are doing with it.
So, does anyone know why it is that when I stake or cage my tomatoes here they slow down dramatically in production? I've tried several different things but it happens every time they are caged or staked. :dontknow:
I need to just take the time to make decent tomato cages. Every year, the wimpy store-bought ones fall over.
Here is an article on a design I found interesting, albeit somewhat labor intensive up front. Made of PVC pipe for the verticals, and you can pour water down the "legs" to get it into the soil at the roots where it is needed. I haven't convinced myself that it is worth the effort, but if you had scrap, it might be.
Mama Beek I have never heard of tomatoes slowing down when being staked or caged. Maters need full sun to do their best. Do you pinch off the suckers as they are growing out? I have found they do better when staked or caged since it will let more light and air into the center of the plant. Sounds kind of funny, might contact you ag extension agent and ask them, have you done a soil test for a "veg. garden"?
That is awesome Hobie, I love that idea. It does seem labor intensive though and I don't happen to have any pvc around. The kids think they "get it" with Jack's idea and BB is gonna draw a picture for me. (sheesh, some days I wonder if I have a brain at all!)
I had considered taking the concrete wire and making two long rows tied together at the tops and letting the tomatoes grow up it like a trellis on each side. Other people have made great cages with that stuff.... but we have issues with cages.
G3, we can't figure it out. We've had better luck just letting them sprawl over the ground than staking or caging.....but then it's a daily fight with every critter in the county to harvest anything at all. We do sucker the plants, but Baby says the problem is because once they are caged it's harder to find all the bugs or see the suckers until they are bigger and it slows down the fruiting. An old fella that lives down the road tells me it's because of the humidity and the leaves "need to breathe more than that", which is where I heard to just let them sprawl.
We did do a soil test, about 4 years ago.... it's surely time for another. The extension office always tells me the same thing about everything we grow.... try a new variety, water at a different time of day, or use more fertilizer. Whatever the cause is I wanna beat it this year! :box:
Mama Beek, like G3 said have a soil test,also i don't plant tomatoes in the same place more than 2 yrs. and don't plant tomatoes where you had patatoes (they have the same disease that stays in the ground) or close to walnut trees. This is what has been passed down to me from family. I also sucker my tomatoes till they stick up through the concrete wire (the determinate type) and when they get 2 1/2ft. to 3ft. on the indeterminate type.(you may not have as many, but they will be bigger) If you sucker to much you will loose to much leave cover and you will have sunburnt tomatoes. Sorry Mama Beek,about how i do the concrete wire, i'm not very good at explaining myself on paper. Jack
Mama Beek, let me try this, have BB unroll about 8ft.of the concrete wire, then measure off 5ft and cut the wire half way through the the squares from top to bottom, this will leave a 2 inch prong on the end of each cage you cut (be carefull when you cut these cages off the roll,they can flip back and cut you). This will leave you with a 5ft hump of wire that will stand on those sharp prongs ( Like standing a horseshoe on end) that you can push through the plastic to hold in place.Cut off as many cages you need to make your row and over lap the cages on the end (2 or 3 inches) to make a straight row.The plastic,straw and wire cage will keep the tomatoes from contact with the ground, where you loose many from rot. Hope this helps. Jack
PS.This wire is hard yo cut, i use a small angel grinder.
I got it!! That's a cool idea Jack, thanks for explaining it again for me! I know it's time to plant them somewhere else....hmmm, BB is not gonna be happy with me rearranging the whole garden now.
Soil test, are the little ones at the walmart okay or do I have to send it in somewhere?? We tested it when we put our first garden in here and there was nothing to it....we just had white sand back in the garden then. It's 5 years later and I don't wanna think of how many truck loads of manure and mulch and shredded leaves have been added in! I'm curious to see the difference myself.
Now, I need to study up on those German Johnson tomatoes that Iddee was talking about.
That sounds like a very interesting idea! It might be difficult to weed what manages to push through the straw, but should be manageable. I'm really tired of tomatoes lying on the ground.
Iddee, I asked the woman who grows the tomatoes I put in. She has a small backyard greenhouse up here in the Arctic, er, I mean "Pennsylvania." According to her notes, she plants the seeds around the first of April. The plants are about a foot tall by Memorial Day. (Around here, you do not dare put anything out before the first of June!)