When do you wintersow tomatoes in zone 5-6?
I am curious too! I was thinking about starting a few.
I always thought they'd be too tender..... EXCITING! I just HAD to follow this post! :)
From my reading on WS of tomatoes, I see both extremes of weather it works or not. Give it a try, after all the seeds are cheap and you certainly can't hurt anything. I am going to put some out uncovered in the next couple of days just to see what happens.
I am a little warmer than you zone 5 and 6ers, but I put out Cherokee Purple, Sweet 100 and Big boy bush tomatoes all on Feb 2.
The Cherokee has 1-2 inch sprouts already, the other two are just breaking through the dirt.
I planted 1 milk jug of tomatoes last year in Feb, only had one seedling and it didn't sprout until mid-May. I didn't have it in full sun though. I plan to try again this year, maybe a couple of different jugs in different places and maybe bring 1 in overnight to see if that works any better.
My tomatoes went out Feb. 5 but I'm not likely to see sprouts till April. Still, they usually catch up in size pretty quickly once planted out in May. I always put my jugs in full sun and don't have to worry about them till it really warms up, and the way the weather's been here that won't be for awhile yet.
Gardeningwithlcgrace, you're not too far from me so you shouldn't have any problems ws tomatoes -- in the five or six years I've been doing this I've gotten really high germination rates. Just be aware that your seedlings won't look like the ones you'll see at garden centers, which are started in hot houses. They'll be much smaller, but healthy with strong roots. And no need to harden off, which is a pain.
It looks like I've got something exciting to do! Time to play in the dirt! Thx so much!
I always sow my tomatoes in the end of March, beginning of April. And they always sprout in May.
I have 50+ milk jugs out and about 20 of them are tomatoes. I figure the more I have out, the better my chances. LOL
Last year (my 1st year WSing) I didn't have much luck with Roma but almost all of the Brandywine seed germinated. I've been putting the milk jugs out since the 1st week in February. Last year, I started at the beginning of January.
Here is a link that might be useful: DW's Blog
This week I put out Ground Cherry, Homestead, Goose creek and one called Monkey Butt (really thats what its called.) I also have a variety of peppers in jugs too. Some have sprouted and some have not. We are expecting a hard frost this weekend so I will cover with a blanket to protect the new seedlings.
For short-summer zones it's very important to check the days to maturity on tomatoes. I followed Trudi's advice and was impressed with the results. I think she suggested 72 DTM or less for zone 5. Check with her to be sure.
In 2010 I had a community garden plot. I originally planned on a container garden at my no-yard apartment. Found out in early spring that one of the gardens still had plots available and I was delighted to get one. I WS'd tomatoes April 2nd and they sprouted mid-April. It was my first year wintersowing and I don't remember why I sowed in April. Could be that's when Trudi's seeds came in the mail. Could be I ran out of containers and had to wait until recycling day so I could raid the neighbors' bins.
The community gardeners were offered transplants of various edibles, herbs and flowers donated by local farms. I planted some of the donated tomatoes side by side with my wintersown ones. Wanted to try a few more varieties. The donated starts were big, probably greenhouse grown. The WS plants were shorter, stockier and darker green. The first two varieties to produce ripe tomatoes were WS. Extra-early varieties, of course.
Edie, have you tried Anna Russia? I feel like a pusher, but I love this tomato which is a 60-65 DTM. They're big, heart shaped, and meaty and, to me, taste really good, which is more than I can say about some early varieties like Early Girl.
Does anyone in Zone 6 or the more northern 7s have tomato sprouts yet?