Author Topic: Growing tomatoes from seed  (Read 3325 times)

BarriedaleNick

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Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2021, 19:51:54 »
I dug out some Sungold that someone here had grown on and selected for size - they must be years old but I got about 90% germination!
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Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2021, 19:51:54 »

Beersmith

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Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #21 on: March 27, 2021, 20:53:45 »

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..

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.

You make some excellent points. 

I've nothing against buying plants if you can find them at a suitable price.

Also the extra economy from taking cuttings is one of those things that isn't difficult but I never seem to get around to.

Thanks for the tip about piccolo.  It's easy to fall into lazy thinking. No one saves F1 types as they cannot be relied on to come true.  Out of interest do you know of any other good quality shop varieties that are not crosses?
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Vinlander

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Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2021, 16:54:27 »
Thanks for the tip about piccolo.  It's easy to fall into lazy thinking. No one saves F1 types as they cannot be relied on to come true.  Out of interest do you know of any other good quality shop varieties that are not crosses?

The best sweet pepper by far is the orange version of the "mini"/"snack" type, also sold as "Chiqino". The red ones in the mix are just normal flavour and the yellow ones are halfway between, but the orange ones are really distinctive - its a waste to chop them into a salad - you need to eat them raw as a side dish to really make a difference.

They keep quite well off the plant and the plants have some ability to fruit into December if moved into the warm (I grow them in the PT in buried pots so I can move the whole plant into the house in October - some survive winter and fruit another season).

The fruit are so expensive that I do very occasionally need to use 2nd generation seed - and I haven't noticed any drift yet.

I also found an orange corno type once that had the same flavour, but I've never seen it since so I'm on 4th or 5th gen seed of that. In the past I've seen such marvels stay true then suddenly stop germinating - so far so good - fingers crossed.

I didn't actually say Piccolo is non-F1 either and I don't need to care - as long as the offspring's fruit are indistinguishable from the parent type. There's certainly no risk of crossing in the original greenhouse - Piccolo is big business - such a big deal and big premium that there will be nothing else in range, probably for miles...

I need to buy Piccolo from the supermarket 9 months every year anyway because they are available when I can't grow them (and the alternative is shop tomatoes with no flavour), so I'll never have to use 2nd generation seed until it's pushed off the shelves by something inferior (this can happen in a recession - eg. I used to be able to buy toasted/roasted pumpkin seed oil until the last one, but when the economy recovered the idiotically expensive olive oils reappeared on the shelves (up to £50 a litre - diminishing returns gone mad to the Nth power), but not even Waitrose sell RPS oil now... That would probably be out of my price range anyway - it used to sell at less than twice the price of good Greek extra virgin.

I've never been convinced that F1 veg gives any really significant benefits apart from uniformity. When F1 became "a thing" I was pretty inexperienced - but it seemed to me that at the time it had concentrated on crossing two quite different strains to get a genuinely important combinations like salt-tolerance with higher yield, high yield with disease resistance etc. etc. It was also widely used to get unusual flower forms/colours for the ornamental market.

If I remember rightly, all the above involved wide differences between parents - often different species and sometimes a different genus.

On the other hand most of the F1 seeds we buy these days are in-species crosses (and the wider crosses aren't always labelled as such).

If you cross two really good tomatoes you usually get a good tomato as the result - I tend to be trying to avoid crosses, but eg. Green Tiger seeds are hard to source since M&S stopped selling the tomatoes (and since Highlander seed ceased to be available), so I'm stuck with tolerating a bit of crossing - I've had a strain of oval ones, and a strain of pointed ones (almost a thorn on the bottom), but since they only had Piccolo, Sungold and Gardeners Delight to cross with the results have never disappointed.

I'm pretty sure the new "Shimmer" is a good Green Tiger variant so I will continue growing its offspring's offspring until it appears in the supermarket.

It's much harder to stop squashes crossing, but I've had a few good crosses (completely unintentionally) - like Turks Cap X Crown Prince made what I call "Green Turban".

The moral of this is that if you only grow your absolute favourite flavour varieties you are less likely to need to dump their offspring.

Cheers.

PS a)  There's no guarantee that the 2 "ideal F1 parents" have been chosen for flavour - every seed we buy has been selected for a few characteristics - flavour is often way down the list. Occasionally a commercial variety like Piccolo has a good flavour despite this, and in the case of Piccolo it also has a unique flavour - this is the jackpot (though some people prefer bland fruit and hate everything different and, some even dislike anything that wasn't fed to them by "Mommy" - I'm the opposite).

PS b)  In winter you may find Piccolo punnets from "Planet Thanet" and other farms that grow them in the UK under LEDs - the flavour is indistinguishable from the summer supplies, often better than their winter rivals from sunnier climes.
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Beersmith

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Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2021, 17:30:22 »
Vinlander,

Many thanks for the comprehensive and fascinating discussion.
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Paulh

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Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2021, 08:54:10 »
The punnet of Piccolo in the kitchen was grown by Lee Smith of Teeside.

Beersmith

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Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2021, 21:51:11 »

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


And who do you think did start too early and is now struggling to look after 16 very large tomato plants but is still worried about frosts for a couple more weeks.  Yup. Yours truly.  No alternative but to risk some of them.  I'll watch the local forecast and try to rig some sort of cover if necessary.
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JanG

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Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2021, 06:01:36 »
Iím assuming itís pretty safe to plant out now. Weather forecasters seem confident that nights will be mild for the next week, and a frost in the last week of May in the middle areas of England would be extremely unlucky.
So for me, itís busy planting out time for tomatoes, squashes, beans, courgettes .... Such cautious joy!

Beersmith

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Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2021, 10:14:15 »
Iím assuming itís pretty safe to plant out now. Weather forecasters seem confident that nights will be mild for the next week, and a frost in the last week of May in the middle areas of England would be extremely unlucky.
So for me, itís busy planting out time for tomatoes, squashes, beans, courgettes .... Such cautious joy!

Now that is an interesting comment. I had mistakenly thought that being in the middle areas of England made late frosts more likely, and coastal areas enjoyed a dampening effect from the surrounding seas cooling the hottest weather but making sub zero temperatures less likely. So I was being cautious

But the risks are definitely easing day by day.  Just need the rain to stop. Inches of rain in March, almost none in April, but once it returned in May well above average ever since.  Slug heaven!!  I'm trying wool pellets this season. I hate seeing those carefully nurtured runner beans blitzed by slugs.
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Deb P

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Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #28 on: May 15, 2021, 14:17:11 »
I have loads of ready to plant out tomatoes waiting to be hardened off.,,, Iím not quite brave enough to risk putting them out just yet!
If it's not pouring with rain, I'm either in the garden or at the lottie! Probably still there in the rain as well TBH....🥴

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saddad

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Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #29 on: May 16, 2021, 09:42:26 »
We have thousands too, started planting up in the greenhouses/poly but giving the outdoor another week at least, (it will take us that long to do the rest!)

Tee Gee

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Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #30 on: May 16, 2021, 15:01:23 »
I have bitten the bullet and planted my plants out this week, and as I had my camera out I took a few shots of the garden for future reference purposes!

 see below;

Obelixx

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Re: Growing tomatoes from seed
« Reply #31 on: May 16, 2021, 16:05:57 »
It's all looking very organised and healthy.  Well done Tee Gee.
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