Author Topic: Growing tomatoes from seed  (Read 3297 times)

davholla

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 867
Growing tomatoes from seed
« on: February 10, 2021, 20:14:29 »
Does anyone do this and any advice?  I might go to Dobbies next weekend to buy some.

Allotments 4 All

Growing tomatoes from seed
« on: February 10, 2021, 20:14:29 »

Obelixx

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,714
  • Vendée, France
Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2021, 20:50:23 »
Yes.  I sow in modules with bottom heat and plenty of light for the seedlings so they don't get etiolated.

In a normal year I'd be swing now but it's cold and grey and dark and wet and that would mean problems for pricking out seedlings and keeping them happy so I'm waiting a week or two more.
Obxx - Vendée France

Tee Gee

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 6,710
  • Huddersfield - Light humus rich soil
    • The Gardener's Almanac
Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2021, 22:23:13 »

JanG

  • Half Acre
  • ***
  • Posts: 226
  • Gardening on fen silt
Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2021, 07:06:38 »
I wait till March in UK, otherwise the plants get inconveniently large while still needing protection from frosts up till the second half of May here.
I find it’s fine to sow five or six seeds in a 3” pot and prick out from there. As Tee Gee shows on his link, the advantage is that you can bury the stalk of the seedling up to the bottom leaves making for stockier plants.

saddad

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 17,635
  • Derby, Derbyshire (Strange, but true!)
Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2021, 07:42:16 »
We use the TeeGee method described above, don't rush at it we have 50+ heritage varieties so grow exclusively from our own saved seed. We will start ours in mid-March in a propagator, move out to a cold greenhouse, prick them out when they have true leaves and put into position by the end of April.

BarriedaleNick

  • Global Moderator
  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,038
  • Cartaxo, Portugal
    • Barriedale Allotments
Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2021, 08:24:52 »
I have started my Red Alerts here in Portugal and the rest will go on this week.  The weather is blerg at the moment but warm enough to sow..
I think Toms are fairly easy from seed - I just sow in rows in little trays and prick them out into pots.  I used to ferry them out to the ploy tunnel in the UK and keep an eye on the temps at night and bring them in if needed..
In the UK my Red Alerts went on at the end of Feb and everything else a 2-3 weeks later.
Moved to Portugal - ain't going back!

Beersmith

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 643
  • Duston, Northampton. Loam / sand.
Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2021, 21:47:35 »
I'd imagine almost everyone on this forum grows from seed.  It is just so much more economical than buying plants. Standard varieties often cost no more than a couple of quid for perhaps 50 or more seeds, and even F1 types probably no more than three quid for 15.  It is hard to find plants at much less than 3 for £10, even for standard varieties.

My only word of caution. Don't start too early, and end up with large plants that are difficult to look after inside  but cannot be planted out because they might get frosted.  Follow TGs advice. The seeds germinate easily in the correct conditions and, in my experience, are good for several seasons

But if you do decide to buy plants that's fine but (and I'm deliberately shouting now) NOT YET!!
Not mad, just out to mulch!

JanG

  • Half Acre
  • ***
  • Posts: 226
  • Gardening on fen silt
Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2021, 05:43:39 »
I’d also add that it’s easy to save your own seed (see Real Seeds for guidance) and as long as they’re not F1 (or rarely have a different kind of flower from usual) they will come true to that variety. That way you don’t even have to pay a penny for your plants.

Tee Gee

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 6,710
  • Huddersfield - Light humus rich soil
    • The Gardener's Almanac
Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2021, 10:55:37 »
When I sow seeds I don't bother too much whether they are F1 or not. Some of the varieties I have grown from seeds over the years come from tomato tasting sessions I would visit at the Tomato association's stall at Tatton Park Show.

I have one variety that I have grown for over 25 years which I brought back from Feurtaventura.

How that came about was as we ended our holiday there was one tomato left in the fridge so I put it in my pocket with a view to eating it at the airport but I forgot about it so when I got home I saved the seeds from it .....the rest is history.

Needless to say I have it labelled as "Feurta"

Obelixx

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,714
  • Vendée, France
Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2021, 12:42:09 »
As the March plant fair where I have previously bought small plants of heritage toms is again cancelled this year and I was not impressed by the varieties on offer in the GCs I ordered some seeds on Thursday.  They arrived in the post this morning which is impressive.  Itching to sow some now and chillies to put it's still perishing cold here and very dull.   Supposed to get warmer soon so finger crossed.

Varieties are:-

Rose de Berne; La Carotina; Orange Banana; Costoluto Genovese and Red Pear.

I grew Yellow Pear in our first year and we loved it and it self sows in the polytunnel tho I suspect the chooks will have nabbed any seeds lurking in the soil.  Great eaten fresh for a nibble or a salad and really nice semi-dried then kept in olive oil for bruschetta.  Hoping Red Pear will be as good.
Obxx - Vendée France

saddad

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 17,635
  • Derby, Derbyshire (Strange, but true!)
Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2021, 13:02:32 »
I have Orange banana and persevere with it although I find it prone to blossom end rot, probably my regime rather than a issue with the variety.

Obelixx

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,714
  • Vendée, France
Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2021, 14:36:45 »
In our first year here I grew some tomatoes outside and some in the polytunnel with great success - very exciting after years of failure in the colder Belgian garden

Since then I've grown all my tomatoes in the polytunnel - purely cos I'm waiting for OH to make another bed in the veggie plot and have no other spare space - and last year I installed a seep hose.   I found it far more efficient than my previous system of putting the sprinkler on and the fruits developed well and foliage stayed healthier too for not having a regular shower.
Obxx - Vendée France

Tee Gee

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 6,710
  • Huddersfield - Light humus rich soil
    • The Gardener's Almanac
Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2021, 15:30:53 »
Quote
I installed a seep hose.   I found it far more efficient than my previous system of putting the sprinkler on and the fruits developed well and foliage stayed healthier too for not having a regular shower.

Not only that, I think this method reduces the chances of blight attacks, as it reduces the humidity around the plants meaning the leaves are dryer and less prone to floating blight spores sticking to them.

This is why I use sunken bottomless pots to water into which is my way of keeping the surface of the compost relatively dry!

Then of course there  is the type of root system that Tomatoes have i.e. the top roots are feeding roots and the bottom roots are moisture seeking roots. So seep hoses and sunken pots directs the water down to where it is needed most!

Obelixx

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,714
  • Vendée, France
Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2021, 15:35:45 »
Good to know.  Thanks Tee Gee.
Obxx - Vendée France

Vinlander

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,670
  • North London - heavy but fertile clay
Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2021, 13:27:01 »
I'd imagine almost everyone on this forum grows from seed.  It is just so much more economical than buying plants. Standard varieties often cost no more than a couple of quid for perhaps 50 or more seeds, and even F1 types probably no more than three quid for 15.  It is hard to find plants at much less than 3 for £10, even for standard varieties.

My only word of caution. Don't start too early, and end up with large plants that are difficult to look after inside  but cannot be planted out because they might get frosted.  Follow TGs advice. The seeds germinate easily in the correct conditions and, in my experience, are good for several seasons

But if you do decide to buy plants that's fine but (and I'm deliberately shouting now) NOT YET!!

Actually quite a lot of people I know are quite happy to buy plants from a shop because then you can pay as little as £2 per plant (2020 prices).

But we'd be crazy if we didn't take cuttings from them... Here's how it makes sense.

1) You scout the nurseries/superstores and some supermarkets to buy the best tom plants you can find from late March through April - ideally ones that already have side shoots - they will be much bigger and more mature than anything you can grow at home (even with my heated propagator and LEDs).
2) You take off any side shoots as cuttings (if they are less than 3cm wait until they grow to 4cm) - these will grow on to be only 10cm shorter than the parent when it crops, and more importantly they will inherit maturity so they crop only about a week later.
3) If you are worried about the space* they need before the first frosts then take off the top for an even quicker cutting. This encourages the side shoots even more. In my experience you can get 6 cuttings off a plant before the last ones' cropping falls more than 2 weeks behind the parent. *Obviously you use all your windowsill space - it's worth pointing out that more mature plants are much better at coping with a windowsill  that isn't properly double glazed - whereas seedlings would just die. BTW never leave a half-hardy plant between curtain and glass, especially overnight.

The big downside is that the only good varieties you will find are Gardeners Delight and Sungold - but there's nothing better anyway.

There's a lot of new stuff being trumpeted every year, but none of them have a better flavour - certainly nothing Blight-resistant (Crimson Crush is the best of an appalling bunch).

Shimmer has a meaty flavour (very like Green Tiger) but isn't in the shops yet.

The only other one I grow from seed is Piccolo/Piccolino - it's nearly as good as Sungold, but the flavour is unique.

Also you can buy about 1000 Piccolo seeds for £2 if you buy a punnet from any big supermarket - and then you'll taste for yourself how much flavour you will be growing. They always come true.

Cheers.

With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.

BarriedaleNick

  • Global Moderator
  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,038
  • Cartaxo, Portugal
    • Barriedale Allotments
Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2021, 16:28:21 »
I have Orange banana and persevere with it although I find it prone to blossom end rot, probably my regime rather than a issue with the variety.
I found the same..
I have never bought a tomato plant but I do take cuttings from my own.  I am tempted this year as they are 5 for €1 at the market, they are small though and I couldn't see a variety named on them.
The joy of seed, for me, cannot be surpassed and sowing tomato seed is always a reminder that the season is underway.  I guess it has become ritualistic.
It has been nice to see more variety of plants in my old local garden center recently - nothing wrong with Shirley and Ailsa Craig but variety is the spice of life and in recent years I have seen more heritage types creeping in.
Dare I also suggest that flavour isn't quite everything?  I know everyone loves Sungold (I'm not overly keen on GD) but they are prone to splitting and they can get a bit repetitive over the season (and they do fruit for ages).  I grow some toms for pasting, I grow some that look good on the plate, I grow some for drying and of course I grow for flavour but not just a sweet Sungold hit. Green Zebra are great fried, Orange bananas make a lovely looking and tasting paste, Black Krim are fantastic on a burger or for making Pan con tomate
« Last Edit: February 16, 2021, 18:20:46 by BarriedaleNick »
Moved to Portugal - ain't going back!

gray1720

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 505
Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2021, 18:12:47 »
Tomato seed also keeps forever - I had some last year from a pack at least a decade old that germinated just fine.
My garden is smaller than your Rome, but my pilum is harder than your sternum!

lottie lou

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,616
  • Birmingham
Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2021, 20:47:37 »
Tomato seed also keeps forever - I had some last year from a pack at least a decade old that germinated just fine.

Only buy sungold seeds. All my other toms are either from the old 'pass the parcel'  or their descendents. Mainly varieties not particularly well known in Britain. I usually chit the number of seeds I want and generally get 100% germination despite some being well over 10 yrs old.   

Obelixx

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,714
  • Vendée, France
Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2021, 21:14:02 »
No plant fair for my usual heritage toms last year and no seeds except a few very old ones that didn't germinate well - except Green zebra - so I bought tomato plants from the GC - generally unimpressed with them especially Sungold which cropped forever but lacked flavour.   I ended up cooking them down to make jars of passata till I got fed up with that too and fed them to the chooks once they arrived in late September. 

They liked them.
Obxx - Vendée France

pumpkinlover

  • Global Moderator
  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 6,387
  • Chesterfield. Sandstone.
Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2021, 11:32:16 »
Tomato seed also keeps forever - I had some last year from a pack at least a decade old that germinated just fine.

Only buy sungold seeds. All my other toms are either from the old 'pass the parcel'  or their descendents. Mainly varieties not particularly well known in Britain. I usually chit the number of seeds I want and generally get 100% germination despite some being well over 10 yrs old.   
This is good to hear as I have so many seeds which are from the seed circles of last decade. Yesterday I tried to work out which were the oldest and started about 16 varieties.