Tomatoe seeds sown directly outdoors?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by CJ, Mar 11, 2004.

  1. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Every year I always buy starts for everything. This year hubby and I really wanted to plant all heirloom varieties, so we bought our seeds from Baker Creek Seed.
    Can seeds like tomatoes, broccoli and brussell sprouts be sown directly into the soil after the last frost date, or are we going to have to hold these until next year and start the seeds indoors?
    Our last frost date is May 1st... or so it's listed. I think mid April is closer. We're in southern Missouri.
     
  2. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    You can plant them indoors right now. They won'tbe huge like the ones you buy at walmart ect, but that is actually better. My garden planner says you (if your last frost date is May 1, which would seem about right) should plant tomato seeds indoors the 1st week of April.

    I am in north Arkansas and my last frost date is April 19th, so yours should be a little later than that.

    Seeds are the way to go. You have a much broader choice of plants, get to see them sprout and really feel like you grew the plants. It is more satisfying to take a seed and have it grow veggies for you. It is always exciting to me to see them sprout!
     

  3. Cara

    Cara Well-Known Member

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    Paquebot I believe plants them in the fall? But I'm pretty sure he could grow a tree from a rock.
     
  4. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Since you are in to the old time varity seeds, let me tell you how my mother done it. We had a really god garden every year. She was born in 1894.
    No plants were started in the house except sweet potatoes.
    She planted all the plants that we transplant in little short starter rows after the garden was plowed with a walking plow and one horse. When they were about 5 inches tall she would wait for a cloudy day and transplant them into the main garden or truckpatch. She carried a bucket of water along as she done this. a hole about the size of a pint jar was made, and a tin can full of water was dumped into it. The plant and soil was put back in with her fingers. The plant then got a little more water. That was the last time anything in our garden was ever watered.
    We have a multitude of blights and other nasty stuff that was not a problem in the first half of the last century. About the time the seed companys develope a plant resistent to something, we get something new.
     
  5. Paquebot2

    Paquebot2 Guest

    Cara is correct. All of the brassica family was planted on Thanksgiving Day. However, planted in a cold frame. Water was not added until early February and then in the form of snow. For over a week, I have had everything sprouting. Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and kohlrabi are all growing nicely. Tomatoes also planted at the same time but still awaiting their appearance. It is hard to accept that winter sowing does work and has many advantages. One is that the plants do not go through a series of shocks from transplanting and temperature changes. Also, no starving for natural sunlight and that results in stocky straight plants instead of bent and twisted things which are common with indoor plants. I will never again start another brassica indoors and this is after many years of thinking that it had to be done that way.

    Many gardeners are learning that the same is true with tomatoes. Despite a 6 week head start, difference in harvest time may only be a few days. It is just so difficult to try to get people to accept it. Yet, those same gardeners will allow a volunteer to grow. The volunteer ripens fruit about the same time as the other plants but they fail to put two and two together. There is, however, one drawback to direct sowing of tomatoes. If you've grown tomatoes before in that soil, you never can be certain as to what variety is coming up. When I start tomatoes outside, I use purchased potting soil rather than my own mix.

    Presently, I have 18 4" pots filled and ready to plant with 18 different tomato varieties. They will be "started" inside around 1 April. By inside, the seeds will be placed into the starting medium on the kitchen table. Then they will go outside to a cold frame to sprout when the conditions are favorable. When the time comes to turn them loose in the garden, they may only be 3 or 4 inches high but that will be the only time that they are transplanted. No daily sessions of hardening them off and very minimum transplant shock.

    A 2003 case as an example. Hugh's Yellow were started inside. Turns out that that variety can catch every possible disease as a seedling and all died. Plants rushed up from Oklahoma. They died. Seeds tossed into a 4" pot on a bench beside the garden with only a plastic bag for protection. They lived! They went into the garden just showing the first pair of true leaves. Monster plants tried to take over the whole tomato area!

    When it comes to gardening, no rules are set in stone for most things. Man is always trying to tinker with growing methods and getting them to do things that are not natural. The older I get, the more I find that the less I mess around with them, the happier they are!

    Martin
     
  6. SueD

    SueD Well-Known Member

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    I have tried that (zone 5) and they came up beautifully, but the fruit was still hard and green when the first hard frost hit. In zone 6, I would think you'd have the extra week or two to get some in to harvest.

    You could try both... Start a few in the house and a few in the garden itself.

    Its REALLY EASY!!!! HONEST!

    I garden STRICTLY with heirlooms and OP... Started 90 tomatoes, 30 broccoli etc etc etc. All are up and doing incredibly well (and I have no green thumb).

    Sue
     
  7. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks everyone for your help :) I will do just that, start some inside (did this morning) and when it's warm enough I'll try direct sowing them as well.
     
  8. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Sue, there's only one reason why you didn't get ripe fruit when starting late. You picked the wrong varieties! You also have to pay attention to the number of days needed to fruiting, just like corn. Tomatoes range from 50 to 120 days. A lot of those big old "heirlooms" are 80-100 days. Too many gardeners don't pay attention to that and then complain that they just began to get a few ripe fruit and then frost came.

    Interesting examples: Arkansas Traveler, 90 days. Bush Beefsteak, 62 days. That's 28 days difference. And then Kentucky Beefsteak is 115 days! Thus it's all in the variety planted, not how they are planted.

    Martin