WS tomatos and peppers zone 5

plantman532000(z5 NcntrlPa.)November 30, 2007

I was wondering what is the earliest successful WS date anyone has had for tomatos and sweet peppers in zone 5 or colder? I will be starting some broccoli, brussels sprouts and other cold hardy crops from late Dec. on, but was wondering if it is safe to start the more tender tomatos and peppers in Dec and Jan.

thanks,

John

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trudi_d

Cold hardy crops aren't a big concern,

I have great luck with WS of hot peppers, the milder bell peppers have always been reluctant reseeders here and I'm in zone seven.

If you have toms reseed in your garden you can WS them, however it's important to choose short DTM types like "Early Girl','Moscow', etc. You do have a short growing season so choosing to WS a 80+ DTM tom may not produce completely ripened fruits.

T

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 4:04PM
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sheltieche

I have self seeding toms in my garden and did few WS toms- fruit ripens 4-6 weeks later than indoor started ones. Peppers in my zone are just not worth doing WS- some of them will have hard time even if they started early. Some summers are just that- weather is not cooperating for best production.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 9:53PM
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trudi_d

Hi Linda,

Do you recall the tomato varieties you've WSed?

Trudi

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 10:43PM
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vera_eastern_wa(5a-5b)

We are talking about spring sowing right?
I'm zone 5b-6a and I started my Tom's in April-May and the Broccoli, Mustard, Collard, Chard and Snow Peas in mid to late March. I had descent crops of tomatoes and the Broccoli, Peas and Greens were outstanding :D

Vera

    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 12:38PM
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sheltieche

I did most early ones, like stupice, early girl, siberian and couple of others- Jubilee and something else. They fared well, were looking great under winds and cold spells but fruiting started later which was not a bad thing. I had tomatoes for the longest time this year and was not overwhelmed at any one time so was able to process them properly. I will probably do same next year. My very earliest tom was Sungold/ indoor started mid April/
Lots of my toms were still producing green tomatoes when frosts hit but I have not seen any difference by that time whether those were wintersown or indoor started plants.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 9:08PM
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plantman532000(z5 NcntrlPa.)

Spring sowing will work, around late March or early April, but I was wondering about sowing in January. I know that we often have volentier tomato seedlings come up in the garden, so I was wondering if I could W/S in Jan. I am very busy in spring with a small business and don't always have the time to start my seeds.

I want to try some Siberian, Glacier, Polar Baby, Polar Beauty, Prairie Fire, S/A Maxi and Polar Star. I know these are cold tolerant, but NOT frost proof! Maybe I will try some flats in Jan and some in April....just to be safe.

John

    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 12:38PM
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richdelmo

plantman I have ws maters in Jan, Feb, Mar, and early Apr resulting with the earlier sown seeds having less sprouts than the later. You CAN sow early but nothing will sprout until the weather says so, just be sure the containers don't dry out, especially as the temps rise.

Vera when do get your first ripe fruit from the May sown, I'm guessing fairly late in the season.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 1:43PM
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trudi_d

John, I usually don't sow my tomato seeds until the middle to end of February because I spend the first weeks of winter sowing my ornamentals, hardy perennials and hardy annuals. Once I've got that bulk amount of seeds taken care of I then WS the remaining seeds or plants that are frost-tender. This is conveniant for me because I am in zone seven on Long Island with have a maritime climate where it's not unusual for us to have a January thaw or a February warm spell. Sometimes I do have some premature germination of the perennials during that time, but often those are varieties which are semi-evergreen during winter--like dianthus or foxglove. Their seedlings continue to survive which is always amazing to see.

In zone five you don't need to WS your toms until at least the end March--you have no reason to rush the season. If this is your first year WSing tomatoes I do suggest that you do some with WS and some by whatever means you've sown them previously. This way it's a comparative learning event and you'll see by season's end that WS fruits don't begin to crop as soon as transplants or indoor-started seedlings; usually there is a about a two-week difference before you see your earleist fruits. However, you are likely to notice a difference in that the plants will crop longer into the season.

I'm so glad Linda mentioned Siberian, I had forgotten about that one--it is fine and tasty for such an early tomato. I've read that they get to be 5 ounces but 3 ounces is a fairer call.

T

    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 2:21PM
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sheltieche

I always worry that early start of seeds that do not need cold stratification will end up in rotting many seeds. I also found out that seeds of foxglove for example started in January will germinate later than foxglove started in in March. It seems like it takes longer for seeds to wake up from winter sleep.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 2:45PM
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vera_eastern_wa(5a-5b)

Rich I had to go back and look at my database... they were started in March and April...not May :D Germination started on April 8th, 16th and 20th. These are all early types.
The Sweetie (cherry), Tumbling Toms (cherry) and Oregon Spring (determinate) started getting mature toms in July...the Oregon Spring also slowed way down again in the hottest part of July and gave more mature ones in mid August thru frost Sept. 19th. If I do Oregon Spring again I think this will be one I start indoors so it can mature all before the heatwave :D

Vera

    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 3:07PM
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plantman532000(z5 NcntrlPa.)

My main two reasons (for wanting to WS tomatos and peppers in January) are a lack of space for growing them indoors (small home) and from mid Jan till late May I am so busy with my seed business that I don't even think of planting my seeds for the garden, yet that is the only way to get the types I want to grow. I guess I'll sow my tomatos and peppers extra thick in Jan. and hope I will have enough sprout at the proper time to take care of my needs come planting season. I always like to experiment a bit too....LOL

John

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 11:41AM
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trudi_d

John,

It takes about five minutes or less to sow a WS flat. I do understand hat it is to be busy with seeds, I've got SASE orders coming to the door in bundles each week. I do hope you'll be able to find a few minutes break when you're most busy--otherwise you just go burn out.

WS is good therapy for a hectic life.

T

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 12:51PM
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lblack61(z5 NY)

Toms WS great for me in December and January...anytime seems to be good for them. I'm probably going to start them very early this year, before the first of the new year, because I want it out of the way.
Peppers...I dunno about peppers. I'm pretty much trying to overwinter the plants I sowed indoors last year so I don't have to sow them inside or out. But the hot peppers always WS better for me than bells. I think I put mine out in Feb or March when I did WS them 2005-2006.

L

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 1:56PM
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trudi_d

I just was writing about this at a lovely tomato website I frequent, they're so sweet--they made a little WS forum and on an almost one on one basis I can relate WS info with people who are not beginner gardeners but have a huge level of experience with plants.

We were talking about WSing vs cold-frame and the differences of the two and the differences of climate.

Because I am here in zone seven I have learned that in my garden I can have bitterly cold weather followed by a warm spell. I would never sow anything except nut seeds now because they need multiple freezing and thaw to get that shell cracked. We just had a weekend of bitter cold and our first snow, today it's raining and 47 degrees. The warm spells can last for a few days.

But when I lived in the Upper Catskills zone 4/5 we were usually frozen rock solid from the end of October until mud season in mid April. Up in zone five, you're putting out your tomatoes and they go into a prolonged dormancy. It's is really cold for months on end and a period of warmth during the usually cold months long enough to stimulate germination is a fluke, it can happen but it's not the norm. I envy your ability to sow a tender annual that early...it's very convenient and I wish I could do that here in zone seven.

We all know our own climates best. I've got a maritime climate with air warmed by the gulf stream and any tropical storm down in the Caribbean is going to effect my garden three days later and send me a blast of ground thawing warmed rain. Other states with zone seven will have different weather patterns without much fluctuation which could cause premature germination of a very tender annual like a tomato or a pepper. I'll reiterate, we all know our own climates best; sow based on what you know.

T

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 4:13PM
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