Return to the Winter Sowing Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

Posted by lois PA Zone 6 (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 18, 09 at 9:58

This is my first year growing tomatoes, and I planted some inside and some outside. My inside ones grew quickly to about 3 inches tall and stalled out. Now I have to deal with the hardening off process, which is going to be a challenge for me since I can't be there during the day on a weekday.

I got my first sprout today from the wintersown tomatoes today and I think I like the wintersowing process a lot better than growing indoors. I wintersowed them in jugs and 2 liter soda bottles. I had them just sitting out for the last 2 weeks, and they were not germinating. Last night, I put them in a large plastic box and today I saw a Brandywine sprout. I can't help but wonder whether the extra protection of the larger box kept the warmth in at nighttime to allow them to sprout sooner. So, I guess I will transfer them in and out of the box for another couple weeks until the soil in the larger pots warms up enough for them.

So, how do people protect their full grown tomatoes in the fall from the first few cool nights so as to get those last few tomatoes to ripen?

Lois in PA


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

Lois, by the time our first frost rolled around, my tomato plants were a jungle, way too big to cover with a row cover without a lot of time involved, so I chose to harvest the ripe ones, then cut the remaining plants down, and hang them upside down in the garage.

Green tomatoes hanging in the garage

Some folks pick the green ones and place them in cardboard boxes with layers of newspaper between them, but someone told me hanging them would keep more of the vine ripened flavor, so that's what I did. This is only my second year to WS tomatoes though, so I'm sure some of the more experienced tomatoheads will have more advice for you.

Bonnie


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

  • Posted by pvick z6B NYC (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 18, 09 at 13:18

Wow, Bonnie, that's really neat! I usually just put my unripened tomatoes in a brown paper bag to ripen - sometimes they taste OK, but they're mostly best for cooking.

Congrats on your sprouts, Lois!

PV


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

  • Posted by lois PA Zone 6 (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 18, 09 at 14:07

highalt, that's a great idea! How many of those green tomatoes hanging there got ripe?

Thanks, PV, I am very excited about this tomato thing but after reading the tomato forum, it seems like tomatoes are both an art and a science. I grow roses, too and these tomatoes sound much harder than roses!

Lois in PA


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

Pretty much all of them ripened, except the smallest, underdeveloped ones. The other thing is that I think they ripen a little slower than the ones picked off the vine, and will hold there for quite a while. One thing I should mention though, is pick the leaves off before hanging, or you'll have a mess of dead leaves all over your garage.

Bonnie


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

Last year I read (probably on the tomato forum?) that toms that show even the slightest pink, like a blush, will ripen naturally if pulled from the vine. If they're hard and green, and show no rose color at all, they won't ripen.

I followed that last Fall and it seemed to work for me. In any case, I found that those that ripened really weren't eating toms, but made good sauce.

To be honest I really didn't have a clue what to do with all the leftovers, but figured the tomato heads knew what they were talking about. ;-)

Prof


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

Hi Lois,

I never thought of trying to ripen tomatoes by hanging them upside down. I've done the newspaper thing yet they just don't have that great of a flavor. I ended up making green tomato pickles with most of my leftovers. It is nice to have a little tomato goodness in the middle of winter, even if it is in a pickle form.

-StLGirl


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

Congrats on the tomato sprouts ... very exciting! I'm sure you'll have lots of success. I've got a few WS tom sprouts as well ... waiting on a few varieties. I have some I put out in an unheated mini zippered greenhouse and bring them inside on cool nights as well. I did these so I'd have back-ups of each variety since I have many I want to try. They are definitely more high maintenance than my WS toms. I know for a fact winter sown tomatoes are great, as this is my third year with them.

Bonnie, I like your upside down tomato idea. Perhaps I'll try that this year. I am trying one variety of tomato from Sand Hill Preservation I'm excited about that they call a keeping tomato. The variety is called Yellow Out Red In. They're supposed to keep for months after harvest. If kept in a cool basement, not touching, they say they can last until February from an October harvest. I don't have a cool basement or that much space, but I'm very interested in how long they keep on my counter top.

I have quite a few tomato plants, so I'm trying a little experiment in my raised bed. I'm in zone 6, and it's probably way too early, but I went ahead and planted out a few tiny tomato plants, and covered them with a floating row cover to protect them from frost. I am hoping they can survive spring's temperature fluctuations. So far, they look to have survived last night's cool 39 degrees. If they don't make it, I have backups at least.


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

I'm so jealous... I have not been able to get toms to sprout, but this is my first year trying. I'm afraid the first batch is dead, so I WSd a second batch on Sunday. Fingers crossed! The weather is starting to warm up now, so maybe both batched will sprout!! :)

Leisa


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

  • Posted by lois PA Zone 6 (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 21, 09 at 19:32

Hi Leisa,

I bet the ones you sowed recently will do great. I only have 4 kinds out there right now, and I am only covering them when the night temps go below 40 degrees. What's funny is that the brandywines are sprouting nicely these last couple days, but there is still no sign of the early girls. I would have thought the early girls would sprout sooner (?) Oh well, I have a lot to learn. I only sowed the market wonders and arctic plenties this past weekend but I hope to start seeing them soon.

Lois in Pa


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

What is a "floating row cover?" Prof mentioned it on another thread and I forgot to ask.


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

The most wonderful thing about winter sowing is you can try so many types of seeds and varieitys in tomatoes. For those of you that used to buy what ever the box lot stores offered this is such a treat to beable to try any seed you can find and it works.

Lois my frist seeds were planted around 2/15 and each week there after in tomato seeds. All but the ones sowed 3/30 and later have not come up yet. The rest are growing like gang busters. Must must start the 6 packs going here.

ML


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

ML, here is a link that describes floating row covers. I purchased mine at Walmart. This is the first time I have used one, so it's still a bit experimental for me, but so far so good. I am using rocks to weigh it down. The fabric is so light, it would blow away otherwise.

Here is a link that might be useful: Row Cover


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

ML, you can also buy metal garden staples to hold the row cover down. I think they are $4 or $5 a box at Walmart.


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

Highalt is right. Garden staples would be a whole lot neater than my rocks, lol.

Lois, any more tomato sprouts?


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

  • Posted by lois PA Zone 6 (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 22, 09 at 19:44

Hi there mo-girl... I have a couple more brandywine sprouts, but no sign of the others yet. Tonight and tomorrow night are going to be in the high 30s, so instead of just packing them into a clear plastic box "greenhouse" at night, I am going to pack them in the box and bring them inside at night. I hope that speeds the germination, too. I am leaving the arctic plenties (which have not yet sprouted) outside, because, well, they have arctic in their name and should be more likely to handle the cold.


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

mo_girl, thanks for the info but I am frugal and like the free milk jugs wall of waters much better. When they are done they get recycled too.

Much rather spend my pennies on tomato seeds. Or a new incubator.

ML


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

My Grandson Luke wintersowed tomatoes at my home last month. Visiting him today he has sprouts! He is in zone 5...yippee!Is he the first in zone 5 to have tomatoes? He is 3 years old. He also has wildflowers sprouts, his brother Josh 6 has sunflowers and wildflowers, Will 9 has carrots and wildflowers. I'm very proud of them.


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

  • Posted by lois PA Zone 6 (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 25, 09 at 17:33

That's a precious memory, to sow veggies with your grandchild. It would be cool if he was the first in your zone to have WS tomatoes. I am still waiting for the ones I planted 10 days ago to sprout. Oddly enough, the indoor ones that seemed permanently stunted at 2 inches have grown another inch this week under the lights. I cut back on the water I was giving them and perhaps that made them happier. I am out of guesses regarding the outdoor tomato seeds that have not sprouted. I am pretty sure they haven't experienced any cold below 40 degrees, and they have had 70-85 degree days and 50 degree nights for the past week.

Lois in PA


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

My toms haven't sprouted, and temps have been in the 80s the past couple of days. They were sown on the 11th and there's no hint of a sprout.

Karen


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

I have sevearl jugs of late sowed tomato seeds, honest those are the ones still waiting for. It is like they needed more time in chilling. All the ones I planted 2/15 thur3/28 did great but any after that still waiting on. Transplanting the 2/15 on ones this week. I have found the earlier ones do better for me in my zone 6, but have to watch for late frosts.

Some of the hard to get seeds still waiting for the sprouts, but transplanted two flats out of two containers sowed on 2/15 this week.

Oh and the kitty litter jug gets a wow from me. I dumped a package of brandy wine pink tomato seeds in it and they took off.

ML


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

ML: Maters need chilling? I sowed some inside the house and they sprouted in a few days at room temp, no chilling.

Karen


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

I WS 12 varieties of tomatoes on 3/3/09. This week three different ones have sprouted, so the rest shouldn't be too far behind. Of course, now a storm is moving through, and the low tomorrow night is supposed to be 33, so I guess I be moving the sprouted ones into the garage tomorrow night. Not taking any chances with those!

Bonnie


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

Karen I dont know if it is a need or works better where I am at. I got alot of tomato sprouts right now like 22 jugs of them.

After this heat wave passes going to put them all out in flats, like to transplant them at least once before they hit the garden.

ML


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

  • Posted by lois PA Zone 6 (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 27, 09 at 21:46

Well the heat did the trick. Today the early girls sprouted.... Or it might have been the fact that I panicked and bought more tomato seeds!

Lois in PA



 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

Oh thank goodness Lois in PA! I was getting worried. I gave away a couple of jugs and I really want my friend's to do well! Hers haven't spouted yet, I was there a couple of days ago, and nothing yet for me in my zone 5, that's been acting more like zone 4!!


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

  • Posted by lois PA Zone 6 (My Page) on
    Sun, May 3, 09 at 19:45

Well, the indoor tomatoes are now way ahead of the wintersown ones.. The brandywine and early girls still have only the seedling leaves (not the true leaves), and the indoor tomatoes have 2-7 sets of true leaves. The market wonder and subarctic plenty that were sown outside 3 weeks ago in clear 2-liters have not sprouted.

I am taking advantage of the cool rainy week ahead and am (trying) to harden off most of the indoor tomatoes.

Lois in PA


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

I managed to get alot of my seedlings transplatned some are over 6 inches high now. Try to bury as much stem as I can and give them time too root. Today since was raining put a doz Rutgers right out in the garden. Putting mine in to mostly flats then cups.

I am still waiting on one or two jugs planted around 4/11 April.

Amazed so many are taken off. The mini 4 day heat wave slowed me down on the transplating.

ML


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

  • Posted by lois PA Zone 6 (My Page) on
    Sun, May 3, 09 at 22:31

Wow, mlcom, is it your wintersown tomatoes that are 6 inches high? Are they covered by anything? The 2 of mine that sprouted are in milk jugs with the tops on but caps off. Maybe I should take the tops off (when it stops raining).

Lois in PA


 o
RE: First Sprout on Winter-sown Tomatoes

I have sproutage in 7 out of 12 containers of tomatoes now, and a couple of them are getting their first set of true leaves. Last year, I started some inside for comparison, but this year I wintersowed all of them. I try not to compare the tomatoes with the indoor sown peppers though, which are about 8" tall already : )

Bonnie


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Winter Sowing Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here