When to winter sow tomatoes

Gertrude1(6)February 5, 2014

I'm in Ohio (formerly zone 5 now zone 6). When is the best time to start to winter sow tomatoes?


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Lisa Stevens

I'm starting mine now indoors under grow lights. Half of them have sprouted and the Indigo Rose sprouts are already getting their true leaves.

I planted my pepper seeds at the same time as the tomatoes but none of them have sprouted yet. Stubborn little things.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 11:54AM
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littleonefb(zone 5, MA)

Gertrude1, I start mine, here in MA in mid April and they are ready for transplant with several sets of true leaves and about 4-6 inches tall by June 1st.

I do mine in individual cups, about 12 ounce size, bigger if I can get them. I seed per cup. I fill the cup about half full of potting mix, put the seed in and sprinkle a bit of soil on top. Then cover the cup with a ziplock type baggie with air slits in it.
When the seedlings have at least 1 set of true leaves on them, I gently pop out the seedling, put more soil in the bottom of the cup, then put the seedling back in the cup. When they are about 3 inches tall, I add more soil to the top covering part of the stem so that more roots will develop out of the stem and give a stronger tomato plant to transplant and grow.

I start my peppers, cukes, at the same time as the tomatoes and everything is planted out by June 1st.

Paperfinch, peppers are much slower to germinate indoors.

I find that if I WS them at the same time as the tomatoes, they are all ready to plant out by June 1st.

None of my seeds are started indoors, haven't done that in well over 20 years. Never had good luck indoors and have no room for any light set up. what I have done in the past always went down to damping off.

On the other hand, have never had a failure with winter sowing.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 4:17PM
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I also have never had a failure WS tomatoes here in Z5 but I no longer do it because I don't get tomatoes until late Sept. with that method. Our growing season just isn't long enough for tomatoes and peppers. Those are the only two things I always start indoors. I use a heat mat for the peppers but the tomatoes just get the south facing windows in my house.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 12:08PM
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Littleone...thanks for all the info :) This is my 1st yr at WS, tho have gardened forever! We are in zone 6b/7a depending on the year...lol Was wondering when you do get your 1st tomatoesin MA? I knew I shouldnt sowmine too early as we have had surprise freezes, even snow the past few years in April and May, tho our frost date is about the middle of April. I plan to have a big garden with lots of toms and pepps and dont want to be lugging seedlings in and out too much! I had been going to sow about March 1st but Apr 1st might be better. Just concerned about them not bearing until August. Store bought ones usually bear in July, but we have a terrible selection here and right now i too have no room to start inside. So, do yours catch up quickly and bear in mid summer? I used to live in NJ and know the weather was not that different from here in north central AR:)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 6:27PM
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