winter sowing tomato seed

tomerrol(z7atn)September 22, 2011

I am in the process of collecting gallon jugs for winter sowing. This will be my first at this. So I do have a question..has anyone ever winter sowed tomatoe seed? I am in middle Tn z7 and I thought maybe this might work with tomato seed also.

thank you for any advise and help on this.

Tom

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bev2009(6 IN)

Yes, you can WS tomato seeds. Have you checked out wintersow.org for info yet? In my zone 6, I usually wait until the middle of April to do my tomatoes. I WS other veggies as well.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 9:32PM
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gardenweed_z6a

I've WS both lettuce and tomatoes with major success. Last year I WS grape tomato seeds that grew into 9 ft. tall plants by the end of summer. I staked them but asked my neighbor to come and put a second 6 ft. stake atop the 6 ft. stake in the container because the plant grew so tall. The tomatoes were sweet & juicy. I also grew a small regular tomato called Stupice. Here's a pic of the first ones that ripened:

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 7:10AM
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tomerrol(z7atn)

Bev, thank you, I went to that and it answers alot of questions I have.
gardenweed, those maters look fantastic! I grow some tomatoes and am glad to find I can winter sow them also. Its so funny , I was kinda dreading winter, but now "looking" foward to it to try my hand at winter sowing!
thank you both for the help and to wintergarden for the inspirational pictures!
Tom

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 8:53AM
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tomerrol(z7atn)

gardenweed, I type a mistake in the above..I typed wintergarden, and I meant to type "gardenweed"!!
Tom

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 9:01AM
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trudi_d

Hi Tom,

I love to WS my tomato seeds, I think it's much easier than starting them inside. WSing your tom seeds gives you very hardy stock for transplanting into the garden.

At WinterSown, I have an offer for free tomato seeds, you get to pick the varieties too--six packs! The list, descriptions and mailing info are in the link below.

Trudi

Here is a link that might be useful: Your Choice Tomato SASE

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 12:21PM
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gardenweed_z6a

Thanks Tom! I checked my 2010 sprout chart and it shows I WS the tomato seeds March 28 and saw the first sprout April 29. I keep my WS containers in the shade on my breezeway which generally means I see sprouts a week or two later than folks who put their containers in a sunny spot.

The folks who work the Starbucks kiosk at the office saved milk jugs for me this week and I toted home a whopping 7 jugs! I reward them with WS perennials when they're big enough to plant out so everybody's happy. At seven jugs/week for the next 12 weeks, I'll have more WS containers than I can shake a stick at!!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 1:46PM
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tomerrol(z7atn)

thank you trudi, I will do that for afellow can never have enough different tomatoes (or flowers)
gardenweed, that is great..I have a starbucks in the little town I go. I get the free used coffee grounds that I use in my lasagna beds, I will ask them about the jugs. I have a colection of gallon jugs and water bottles, I think I have every neighbor saving them for me!! next year I will be able to contribute seed to winter sowers! I am going to my 1st plant and seed swap 15th of this month in middle tn at Henry Horton state park. It will be my 1st, and have been harvesting some seed and dividing a few plants for that.
I have a flickr site of my 1st yr "cottage garden"..actually started lated last summer and fall
I could not seperate the garden from my carvings , haven't learn all this pc stuff yet!
thanks again everyone
Tom
my flickr site
http://www.flickr.com/photos/errol41/?saved=1

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 4:34PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Wow Tom, I just had a look at your cottage garden and it is lovely. I am more impressed with your carvings, especially the little woodpecker. One of them has taken up residence in this area this year, and loves our apple (Mac)tree. I happened to get a few pics. just today. You have a wonderful mix of annuals, perennials, and veggies, which is the way I think a garden should be. Good luck with your toms. Trudi got me started some years ago and I am still sowing and saving seed each year for myself and for sharing.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 2:36AM
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tomerrol(z7atn)

northerner, thank you for the very nice compliments, both on the cottage garden and my carvings. I had always wanted a cottage type garden, but never had the right place nor the time to have one until now, after retirement. All I know about gardening is what I have read in books and looking at different garden layouts. I try to put it all together with what suits and pleases me. I like to keep it simple and fun. I am now in the process of collecting a lot of the "old timey" cottage garden plants. I can tell you this..I have learned a great deal about gardening from the folks here on gardenweb!
Now I have a small cottage that my wife and I built with our own hands,(683 square feet) and 1 1/2 acres in the country, and a very comfortable carving shop. Now, with the help and information from the nice folks here on gardenweb, I am going to winter sow an adventure! Next year I hope to have plenty of seed to give away here.
thank you again, northerner
Tom

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 6:07AM
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aliska12000(Z5)

I just saw this one within the past week, don't think I'll be growing it but there are some Siberian ones I'm considering. Thanks for the target date for ws'ing tomatoes, around April 1. If cherry tomatoes are happy, they can get huge, had one climb to the roof of my single-story house years ago and full of fruit.

There's some controversy where I found this concerning exactly which Russian Black tomato it is. It looks unappetizing to me, but read the flavor is good. Amazing the different varieties and colors.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2011 at 11:27AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

"seperate the garden from my carvings"...

Don't. We enjoyed those too. I thought the chickadees especially charming :)

    Bookmark   September 25, 2011 at 12:44PM
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tomerrol(z7atn)

Thank you morz8, I guess birds and flowers do go together don't they? lol, anyways birds and flowers are my favorite subjects now. I have 4 birdfeeders not counting the 5 hunningbird feeders in the cottage garden! that is where I will sit with my camera and get ideas for my carvings. I tell you...if I had known retirement was this much fun, I would have retired at 21 !!
thanks again
Tom

    Bookmark   September 25, 2011 at 4:09PM
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gardenweed_z6a

Tom - keep your eye out for Lobelia cardinalis/cardinal flower seeds to WS. The hummers LOVE cardinal flower. Mine bloomed for the first time this year and I saw the hummer a lot more often and always near the cardinal flower. Red monarda/bee balm is another one that will bring them in. Tubular flowers are another--I saw the hummer on my Agastache rupestris/sunset hyssop a few times. Both bloom late in the season (late August-September where I am) when many other nectar sources have finished blooming.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2011 at 8:10PM
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gardenweed_z6a

Needless to say, monarda/bee balm, cardinal flower & sunset hyssop seeds are all excellent winter sowing candidates.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2011 at 9:37PM
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tomerrol(z7atn)

gardenweed, thank you so much! I love hummingbirds too. They are also one of my favorite to carve. Guess I have carved around 125 of them in my years of carving. I also carve the flowers they feed off of. But thats getting off the subject of WS, I will surely keep an eye out for the flowers you mention. I have none of those. I will be going to my first seed & plant swap oct 15, at Henry Horton state park in middle Tn. hopefully I can find those plants (I rather have the seed) , I just love growing from seed and most of what I have in my garden I have grown, I have never WS, and am now looking foward to winter! I have did things since joining this forum I had never done..like asking people for milk and water jugs, taking a ziplock with me every where I go to collect seeds, I have even collected seeds from wildflowers along the road! I go to Starbucks to get their used coffee grounds, go "dumpster diving for jugs and bottles! awww but what a "hobby"! I love it, and talking to people about gardening.
thanks very much gardenweed, you and every one on here has been such a big help to me!
Tom

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 5:58AM
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gardenweed_z6a

Tom - you'll soon realize you're in excellent company among the rest of us seedaholics on this forum. In summer I go walkabout my garden every day to enjoy the flowers, fragrances, birds & butterflies. As fall approaches, I go walkabout my garden every day to scout for & harvest seeds from my flowers, shrubs and trees, and wander through the neighbors' flowers, shrubs and trees for potential WS candidates. My collected seeds are set to dry in paper bowls or on paper plates inside the garage. Seeds I harvest in abundance get traded for seeds on my Wants list.

I break my winter sowing seed list into two groups--those that need cold stratification (to be WS first in Dec/Jan) and those that don't need a cold moist period to germinate. The WS jugs are placed along both sides on my concrete breezeway as you saw in the picture I posted on your original thread. I use bricks to hold them in place altho' none have ever blown away. You can also run a long bamboo pole through several jug handles to anchor them. Placing WS milk jugs with their wide, flat bottoms around drink cups or water bottles helps to anchor/stabilize them.

Most folks on the forum get pretty jazzed as the winter solstice approaches. We often post countdowns of the number of days "until..." You can begin to think about which seeds you'll plant on the solstice for Remembrance, Life, Mother Nature, & Faith.

Winter sowing opens up a whole new aspect of gardening and makes it more of a social activity. My first winter, a neighbor brought me a truckload of milk jugs from the recycle bin at the town landfill every week. He laughed and laughed at the ever-growing number of WS jugs lined up on my breezeway like soldiers on parade. He stopped laughing and started to believe when he saw the jaw-dropping results. Last December he brought me 4 apple & 10 pear tree seeds and asked me to WS them for him. He wasn't laughing when I handed him 4 apple & 10 pear tree seedlings in April from seeds sown on the winter solstice.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 7:46AM
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tomerrol(z7atn)

Wow! gardenweed, that is surely amazing! I just hope I can have 1/2 the success that all of you on here have. I have saved 3 peach seeds and they have been drying in the potting shed. I will use those to WS this winter. thank you for sharing the information and the pictures.
Tom

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 11:17AM
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trudi_d

Aliska,

Any 'black' tomato is going to be wonderful, I haven't found one yet that isn't yummy. Also, for something different, try any of the many GWR (green when ripe) varieties like Cherokee Green or Green Zebra.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 6:30PM
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bookjunky4life(5 Central IL)

I pulled up my WS tomatoes and tilled almost a month ago. Now there are hundreds or thousands of tiny tomato seedlings popping up. They are so cute and make it harder to accept the growing season is over.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 9:32AM
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trudi_d

Till them back in when frost returns. What goes around, comes around ;-)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 10:47AM
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gardenweed_z6a

I was surprised to find three "volunteer" tomato plants growing near where I grew mine last year in containers. They're amazing, healthy plants--sure wish I'd noticed them earlier in the season.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 4:50PM
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trudi_d

That's why I like WSing my tom seeds, they just seem so much hardier than any transplant started indoors. The seedlings get their fair share of light and wind, night and day. They have amazing roots.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 6:14PM
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tomerrol(z7atn)

ok, you ladies have sold me on WS tomatoes. So I made a new lasagna bed today 36 inches wide x 50 feet long. I still got to add some more to it, I have it 18 inches high, but will finish tomorrow 24 inches deep! I only worked around 4 hours on it so far. But it already looks so "rich" that I bet I dream about them maters jumping out of it tonight! So Trudi_d, I am sending in my tomato request tomorrow. I made it out right after supper.
thanks to all for making my life the better!
Tom

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 7:31PM
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bev2009(6 IN)

I loved the pictures of your garden and the carvings! Please say you are saving seeds from the peach zinnia. That is my favorite color and I would love some. I have to get organized yet this fall with collected seeds, but I have started and would be happy to trade with you.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 6:35PM
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tomerrol(z7atn)

bev2009, thank you so much for the kind compliment! yes I have started harvesting a few zinnia seed. There will be more as they get ready. I will be happy to send you some of the peach color of the zinnias as soon as I harvest them. you can email me your addy and as soon as I have some which won't be long now for its going to be in the low to middle 40's tonight and the next few nights!
thanks again
Tom

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 7:02PM
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sassybutterfly_2008(7 NorthWest GA)

I, too, really enjoyed your photos and your amazing carvings!! You have quite a talent! Trudi (along with everyone else here!) also encouraged me a few yrs ago to try WS'ing the tomatoes.. I have had wonderful results as well. I'm in Northern GA so we are having the same nice cool temps this wkend you are. So nice not to have that humidity hit you in the face the second you walk outside though! Keep up the wonderful work. I'm sure we'll see alot of you around here! :)

~Wendy

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 8:33AM
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tomerrol(z7atn)

Hi Windy, yep I went outside at 5 this am, it was 43 here!! thank you for the nice comments. I think I will enjoy winter sowing this will be my first time trying. I lived in Chattanooga for 40 yrs before moving here after retirement.
Tom

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 8:51AM
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tomerrol(z7atn)

Trudi, I just wanted to let you know I received the tomato seed yesterday (friday) and I really want to thank you very much for your kindness and for being a very thoughtful person! You can be assured these seeds will get the proper care. I already have a lasagna bed ready for them this spring. Its 50 feet long x 38 inches wide and right now its a full 24 inches deep. this spring it will melt down to about 8 inches deep.
thank you again Trudi
Tom

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 7:32PM
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