just1morehosta(5)February 23, 2009

Man,on Man,

I was just over at the tomato forum,because i received so many great tomato seed from some of you,i needed to look them up, as i know nothing about all the different ones i received,i Am So Excited now, i can not stand it,i wish i could start right now.

I am also a litle scared they will not sprout.

Come on warmer weather.

When will you zone 5ers,be starting your tomaot seeds?


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kiddo_1(NE OH 5)

I'm starting my tomato seeds in my zone 5 basement 1st of March - tomato day. :-D And I, too, had a TON of new tomato seeds to try this year. It's those folks over on the tomato forum! I blame them. They have encouraged me to try a bunch of varieties I've never heard of before and I mean, do I need to plant out 38 kinds of tomatoes? Not counting cherry/grape varieties? Well, maybe... Oh why the heck not! Join the club, cAROL. ;-)

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 7:52PM
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I do not have a spot to grow indoores,so i need to wait a bit i think.
I received my seed from our good friends here,hubby was interested in trying some hierloom,and i really got some nice ones,i will be trying to grow some in 5 gallon buckets like Lynda,i need to e mail her with a few questions.
I may have that many also,ha ha
I already have several friends and family members who have staked a claim,ha ha
This is going to be as much fun as sowing my flower seeds.
Some i only got like two seed,so i better know what i am doing,as i really want these to grow.

Ok ya all,

If not starting in side,when should i WS tomato?

Thank you,

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 8:53PM
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not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)

Carol, you can wintersow tomatoes, here's the link for Trudi's info. I knew it would be possible when I realized that I found sprouts in my garden from last year's tomatoes. Ma Nature did it without my help, but I use WS'ing to grow the varieties I want to try this year. Winter sown tomatoes are hardy little plants, better than the ones I've ever sown indoors or bought at the garden center.


Here is a link that might be useful: Tomatoes

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 9:29PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Carol, if your wintersowing them, you could do them now. If your sowing indoors, count backwards eight weeks from your last frost date.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 9:53PM
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littleonefb(zone 5, MA)


I'm in zone 5 in MA, about 20 minutes max from the NH border.

I WS all my tomato seeds around April 16th - April 18th.

I fill 12-16 oz styrofoam cups half full with miracle grow potting mix.. Cup has a single hole in the bottom for drainage.
Put 1 seed in each cup, sprinkle a bit of soil on the top, then slip a sandwich size baggie over the cup, put in slits in the baggie and out they go into direct sunlight.

They germinate May 8th and May 16th.

As soon as the seedlings are above the top of the cup, I take them out, add some more soil to the bottom of the cup put the seedling back in and then add more soil around the stem.
I do this to give them more room to get roots in the bottom and force root growth along the stem for added strong root system.

Between June 1st and June 10th the seedlings are planted in plastic pots that hold about 1 1/4 cubic feet of soil. Just put in miracle grow potting mix, the seedling in the center and add some bark mulch to the top.
I also plant a dwarf marigold in the pot right at the edge of the pot. It helps to keep the bugs away.

I put a 6 foot plastic stake in the pot at the same time as the seedling and make my first support tie to the stake when they are planted.

I purchased the pots at Walmart for $4.97 each and they came with a saucer. I took off the saucer before filling with soil and planting and the pots are placed on the ground

Once in the pots, the plants will grow by leaps and bounds.

June 14th

July 4th



cherokee purple

xmas grape, a slow grower at first that takes off like a rocket

sweet 100

warren's yellow cherry

black cherry

white wonder

large cherry red

July 28, the two small pots in the front are tiny tim tomatoes

didn't get any further pics last year as 1 month of rain made the plants look sickly and full of fungus.

They continued to fruit and ripen though into Oct.

fruit from last years plants

purple cherokee this one weighed over 2 pounds

this one weighed close to 3 pounds


cherries and white wonder


    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 9:56PM
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That is every thing i needed to know Fran,thank you so much,i am planning on using 5 gallon buckets this year,i really do not like the looks of them, but i am way back in the woods, no one sees them but us.

When you say you add more soil, how much is in the pot to begin with?I am planning on using the 3 inch jiffy pots.
I love the step by step instructions you gave,along with germanation and planting time,Great Planting Guide!
I will get them started in April then.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 10:16PM
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By very careful if you use jiffy pots because they will dry out very quickly. If you plant the pot make sure that the top of the pot is completely underground so they don't wick your moisture away. I only had to try them once.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 10:49PM
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Would plastic cups be better to use,i can get them at the $ store?
What would you suggest?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 11:06PM
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ellenr22 - NJ - Zone 6b/7a

beautiful pictures!

Anybody WS'ing tomatoes in Zone 6?
Judging by Fran in Z.5 winter sows mid-April,
I'm thinking z.6 could sow early April?


    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 6:12AM
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Hi ellen, I'm in zone 6 Ks/Mo border, I do mine like Fran in the 16 oz foam cups half full, but as the plants grow I only add dirt around the stem.I poke 3 drain holes in mine with the same ink pen that I write the name of the plant on the foam cup with. I also keep mine in a plastic box covered with plastic sheeting & taped onto the box with air vents in the plastic. I think I winter sowed mine in mid to late March, & after sprouting on frost warning nights I just threw a blanket over them at first until the night that the wind blew half of the blanket off & I lost half of the plants so after that on frost nights I set the boxes in the garage & set them out again in the morning. Each plant had the best root system that I have ever seen on a mater plant. I put most into the garden, some in a few raised beds & I also scatter a few in with the flowers, it is so nice to grab a handful of cherry maters while lookin at the flowers ") I also winter sow my squash, & cucumbers to give them a head start.
jan ")

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 7:47AM
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Dear Fran,
You're my hero.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 8:50AM
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Ellen I am in zone 6 with you in NJ . I start mine first around 2/8 each year. They are the most important so they hit the milk jugs first. Have started at all times and think this the best idea still. The firstyear wanted alot of tomatoes so started many jugs and well by june 1st had over 600 seedlings. None of my friends got it that they doz plants they got were cause I had way to many even mailed them across country.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 8:55AM
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floodthelast(5 N. OH)

Hey Fran, I'm going to WS toms and such too this year. Also in buckets, in z5. I've been chatting with Lynda and trying to get this all down. Thanks for a great forum post. Maybe we should compare notes later.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 8:58AM
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lblack61(z5 NY)

You're set up is stellar!!!
What size are those pots? Are they 5 gallons? (I ask because they actually look smaller than 5 gallons, and if I can get away with smaller that might be good)

(And that's so cute, the little marigold in each one!)


    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 6:26PM
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I sent you an e -mail, :0)

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 10:02PM
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littleonefb(zone 5, MA)

Linda, Carol I sent you both e-mails.

For everyone else, I don't know how large these pots are. This is the info that I do know.

The pots where labeled that they hold 1 1/4 cubic inches of soil.
I assume that is if you fill the pot to the very top of the pot, which I don't.

They are exactly 13 1/2 inches tall and exacty 14 inches across at the very widest part of the top rim.

I got them at Walmart last year and the year before. They come with a saucer, but I take the saucer off as I don't want the pots to be left in standing water all the time.

Price last year and the year before was $4.97. don't know if they have them this year, but assume they would as they are a "no name" brand from Walmart and they come in quite a few different sizes.

The marigold is in the pot to help keep the insects away and works every time, except the one pot that missed a marigold in it. That one got hornworms in it but they never attacked any of the other toms.

By fall this is what that "cute little marigold", disco flame looked like


    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 1:55AM
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floodthelast(5 N. OH)

Looks like they make a nice little ground cover too.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 7:20AM
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cAROL, tomatoes benefit from even, consistent moisture. Plastic facilitates that.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 9:06AM
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friesfan1(5b NW-KS)

Thank you so much with the Tomato sowing instructions.
They are a huge help!! My neighbor gave me a few packages
from Totally Tomatoes. She had brain cancer and last season
after all my garden was planted stopped over and
gave me every single package she bought.

She passed away last week, after a long lengthy and painful

My plan is to plant all of these seeds and not buy any
plants this season.

A couple of years ago, I had Roma's come up volunteer.
They did great. I am hoping I can pull off Tomato
seeds. It will be my first attempt.

Thanks for the visuals. I really appreciate them.
Mary in zone 5 also.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 9:30AM
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Thanks again, Fran for some more information. I went out and bought 22 Homer Buckets from HD last week when the price dropped from nearly $5 to 2.78. Now I know I won't need to fill them completely with soil.

Ok, my next question is: WHERE do Tomato Hornworms COME from? Where do they LIVE when you don't have tomatoes for them to munch on? I know JBeetles live in the ground as grubs, then attack anything in sight, but do hornworms also live in the soil, then just crawl away to find a vulnerable tomato plant in the summer?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 9:53AM
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They come from a Sphinx Moth and a lot of people plant their food plants just so they can see the moths. Not me. I don't want them anywhere around because I know what they become. They can strip a tomato plant very quickly.

Here is a link that might be useful: Moth pics

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 1:09PM
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OH, NO! Are you KIDDING me?!! I absolutely love, love, love to see a hummingbird moth in my flower gardens in late summer! Shoot.

Maybe I'll plant a few toms off to the side somewhere without the protection of a marigold companion just so they can have something to munch on. I love my tomatoes, but I love the moths, too.

Thanks for the info, SGM.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 1:31PM
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Yikes! I nearly forgot! Time to break out the styro cups and get the 'maters done!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 11:01AM
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It's a tough call with the hornworms vs. the sphinx moth, isn't it. I've finally found my fulcrum by letting the red wasps stick around. I hate red wasps, but they lay their eggs on the hornworms, cannibalizing them. That way I get to see one or two sphinx moths each year, but I don't get eaten out of house and garden by the hornworms.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 1:22PM
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Geez, SM...between your cannibal-wasps and prof's lung-tree, I'm thoroughly grossed out today!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 1:53PM
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leisa_in_md(z6 MD)

Well, i had two little tomatoe sprouts, and they died. None of the others have germinated. I don't know if they are patiently waiting for a better time to sprout, or if I killed them :(

But I'm going to try and plant some more :) Fingers crossed!


    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 6:44PM
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MMQCHDYGG: that was not my lung tree post. I would never post something so off-the-wall and bizarre. ;-)


    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 7:54PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

I found a tomato sprouting in a flower container. I've decided to let it grow and see what it is. I'm curious how a seed got in there from seeds sown before the tomatoes. It was possibly a trade.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 9:39PM
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bump cuz I just LOVE this thread!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 3:38PM
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