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Produce => Edible Plants => Topic started by: Mrs Ava on February 17, 2004, 00:53:34

Title: Toms
Post by: Mrs Ava on February 17, 2004, 00:53:34
They are up!  My toms that is.  Sowed them 10 days ago, and finally today I noticed a few poking through.  Fabaroonee!  I just keep getting happier and happier.  ;D
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: aquilegia on February 17, 2004, 10:50:31

I wasn't going to sow mine yet as i thought it'd be too early. But maybe i will!
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: rdak on February 17, 2004, 11:30:28
EJ- are these tomatoes for outdoors? Thought it was too early.
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Tenuse on February 17, 2004, 12:10:41
I sowed my tomato seeds on Friday I keep checking the propogator but none are up yet...

Ten x
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Mrs Ava on February 17, 2004, 12:38:09
Well, some of my tom seed packets say sow in Feb, and I have done that most years, in fact, I normally sow them in January.  I am only really doing what my gramps has always done and I always end up with more toms than I know what to do with.  :o
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: rdak on February 17, 2004, 12:42:05
when do you plant them out? is it always after the last frost? maybe I will try some a bit early and use Ina's method of taking the lower leaves off and transplanting them deeper - perhaps that will delay the top growth as it develops roots.
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Mrs Ava on February 17, 2004, 14:13:54
I definately wait until after the lost long as someone points out that that was most definately the last frost.  I actually normally wait until I see others have theres out and about, I transplant into pots, and like you I am going to do it Ina's way, nice and deep, and then finally into position.  I was hoping to get some at the allotment, but I fear I won't have room.  :o  I have got a touch carried away.  :-/
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: wetandcold on February 17, 2004, 14:49:30
I'm glad to hear that some other people have their tomatoes under way. I planted mine a couple of weeks ago, as usual, and they have germinated and now have their first set of true leaves! :)

I live near Glasgow on the west coast of Scotland and, strangely (Gulf Stream I guess), we get hardly any frosts ever - my grandparents live in Oxfordshire and they get much worse frost than us!

Anyway, I think that by planting my tom's a bit earlier I will give them a head start to make up for the lack of sun in the summer (and we usually have great weather in April / May so it would be good to give them the opportunity to flourish then!)
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: aquilegia on February 17, 2004, 14:58:59
Hmm - maybe I will start mine now then. I sowed them in January last year (it said you could on the packet) and had a bumper harvest, but then I was put off doing it so early this year. But I'm gonna.

Too much to do tomorrow now!
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: rdak on February 17, 2004, 15:08:48
saw this on a gardening newsgroup:

Professional growers, to stop the plants becoming 'leggy', fool the plants
into thinking they are in a windy situation, by brushing the plants with
hands several times day, the movemnet makes the plant think it's being
buffeted by the wind and grows shorter and stronger!
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Ceri on February 17, 2004, 16:16:36
I've read similar - something about japanese gardeners brush seedlings stems gently once a day with a very soft artists' paintbrush
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: wetandcold on February 17, 2004, 18:44:07
Can you speak to them when you stroke them or would the more established plants get jealous? ;)
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: ina on February 17, 2004, 18:44:19
No!!!! I wil NOT or maybe I will, No I won't.......I WILL wait a bit longer. Last week of februari or the first of march to sow tomatoes. I just can't stand it, wish you guys would hush your mouths hahahaha, you are making in so hard. Isn't it fun to see the first seeds breaking through the soil? Are we going to get a bumper tomato year again like last year? Good luck everybody.
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: tim on February 17, 2004, 20:14:02
What a brave lot! I'm very envious.
With 6 deg frost at the end of April, and cold house temp still at 40 deg in JUNE - I truly dursn't!! Not for another month.

And, really, does one gain significantly by jumping the gun by a week or two? Doesn't everything catch up as the temps rise? Most things hate a check, and with us they usually get it.

How about a prize - or honourable mention - for the first tom in heat, in frame, and outdoors? If you are in the Azores, there will be considerable weighting! = Tim
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: ina on February 17, 2004, 21:41:38
Yes Tim, I think you are right but..................impatience wins out hahaha. Gain? What's to gain? Fun Tim, fun to see them little bitty tomato plants popping up out of the soil and nothing to lose but a few seeds because one can always sow new in a month if need be. Still, I'm going to wait a bit and just enjoy the happy news from others here.
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: tim on February 17, 2004, 22:22:11
What energy!! And looking after a husband at the same time? = Tim
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Tenuse on February 18, 2004, 10:37:26
Yay! my little tomato seedlings spent all last night popping out of the soil, every hour or so I would go and look at them and there would be a few more out.

I have only sown 12 having taken heed of Tim's dire warnings ...! so I have plenty left for a later sowing.

Ten x
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: shifty581 on February 18, 2004, 14:10:27
I always plant my tom seede in erly Jan,put them in on the 9th and showing them selves today.
Q/  Growbags or lare pots which is better ?.
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Garden Manager on February 18, 2004, 15:46:27
I have always been told second half of march to sow tomato seeds. However I have recently come to the conclusion that this is a little late considering the microclimate in my garden, and that geting them ready to go out at the end of may was way too cautious.

This has been confirmed by advice in a magazine (along with free tom seeds) saying it is ok to sow around now.  I decided then to attempt first sowing as soon as possible, probably at the begining of march (a whole month earlier than last year). Now from what i have read here even this sounds late!

The main thing with tomatoes from seed is the presence of enough heat during germination. If  you can provide this in january or february, then fine as long as the seedlings dont get too cold afterwards. The other thing is light. I january and early february the light levels are generaly too low to grow healthy seedlings in. They tend to be drawn and weak and prone to infection. Come late feb early march the light should be strong enough for growing healthy plants.

Early sowings are though most suitable for indoor crops, outdoor tomatoes should be sown later so that they are at the right stage to go out after your last frost.

As for pots v growbags, I have tried both and have found pots better, largely because watering is easier. Install a 3" pot next to the plant when planting up and water into that.  I normally use a 50/50  John Innes 3/ multipurpose compost mix.
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Tenuse on February 18, 2004, 16:17:00
Hmm mine are supposed to be for outdoors, but my cunning plan is:

germinate them in the propogator indoors (done!)
let them grow on in their seed tray in an indoors room next to a big window, turn them every day and stroke them too for good measure
when they have 3 good true leaves pot them into 3 inch pots and keep them indoors still
when they look like they are doing ok transfer them into my back garden's cold frame (very sheltered and quite a good warm microclimate)
start hardening them off a few weeks later...
pot them into larger pots if it is still frosty...
plant them in the allotment in - perhaps - May?

Oh for a greenhouse!

Ten x
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Mrs Ava on February 18, 2004, 16:54:54
hehehehehe Ten, I gave all my seedlings a little stroke today, and had a little chat to encourage them.  Barmey I am!  I would have thought May was okay for planting toms out.......or is it?  Where are you in the country?  I understand from this knowledgeable bunch that some places still suffer with frosts into June!  :o

Anyhows, I don't agree Richard, I have tried pots and growbags and I prefer growbags.  I found pots become unstable and hard to stake the tall plants where as I plunge a bamboo clean through the growbag into the soil beneath and hey presto - good firm staking.  Then I use little plant pots or I cut of the end of a pop bottle and plant that in the growbag next to the tom plant to help with the watering.  I guess it is a case of each to their own.
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Garden Manager on February 18, 2004, 17:13:31
Ah but you see EJ I put my potted toms next to a fence which i have string fitted to. I can then tie the canes to the fence and stop them falling over.  The pots are placed on (albeit grotty) soil next to the fence and often root out of the pots into the soil, giving added stability.

I have also discovered a new design of pot on the market which has a slot built into it for the cane. The slots have no bottom so if the pot was placed on soil it would be possible to push the cane into the soil, again for added stability.

But as you say each to their own.  ;)
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: shifty581 on February 18, 2004, 17:43:15
Ah but you see my green house has a concoret floor. so I have to use pots. Can some body tell me the best size pots to use and the best compost to use. Thank's
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: allotment_chick on February 18, 2004, 17:57:31
Likewise Shifty - I use 10" pots with a saucer.  I fill the saucers every morning and check them to see if they need a top up every evening.  I grow in soiless compost and feed heavily with tomato food - I'm happy with the crop.

I have green coated wire running across the long length of the greeny and when I get the pots in position, I tie double thickness string down from the wire and around the top of the pot (you know, where the pot steps in slightly).  Then I tie the growing toms to the string.   No mishaps thus far!  ::)
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: shifty581 on February 18, 2004, 18:25:03
Thank's for all that, Allotment chick. I will do the same and let you know how things go  :)
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Tenuse on February 18, 2004, 23:47:09
EJ I'm in Sheffield, no idea on the frosts on the allotment it's my first year! but it's in the middle of the city so pretty sheltered generally.

I have picked some outdoor bush varieties, the packet says not to worry about staking them, I can't see how I can avoid it - how will they keep from dangling on the soil??

Ten x
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Mrs Ava on February 19, 2004, 00:35:13
Aha Richard.  You are all prepared then.  I tried in pots in the greenhouse, but I have loads of shelves all around it so nowhere to support them and ended up in a right old mess.  The peppers and things weren't so bad as they didn't want to grow as tall.

Ten, I stake my bush ones when they are babies, just loosely tying them to the cane, then I leave them to it.  In the past I have had good and bad with bush toms - one year lost loads of fruit to...well slugs I guess, but coulda been anything, then another year had so much fruit I was freezing bags full of whole toms, like red golf balls in my freezer!  I should thing that as you are in the centre May will be fine for your toms.  Our lottie is dead exposed so I will be watching the other plotters to see when they start with their tender plants.  I have been saving all of my pop bottles though to use as little cloches - I am getting sadder and barmier by the day!   :P
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Garden Manager on February 20, 2004, 16:39:57
EJ - sounds like you value your shelf space in the green house more than growing toms there. If you are keen on growing indoor/greenhouse toms you should organise the greenhouse with one side with benches and shelves, the other clear roof to floor and grow the toms either up strings or up canes.

There are certainly benefits to growing tomatoes indoors as well as out, they crop earlier and are less prone to blight, though aphids can be a problem.
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: ruud on February 20, 2004, 23:19:18
Hi everybody,my name is ruud i am living in the netherlands near the coast.The beach is 2 klm away,so we have mild winters,much milder than the rest of holland.I have sow about 40 variaties of tomatoes and that is not the end i have to sow a40 more,but the are the later gropping ones.The early ones are going end of mai outside in pots and i am putting them in the soil early may.So,i have a headstart and so also an early and longer growing season.I do the same with my peppers and chillies.Ruud
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Mrs Ava on February 20, 2004, 23:42:04
Hiya Ruud, glad you came along and joined us.  All of the tom seeds you sent me have germinated already and are looking strong.  I am looking forward to alsorts of weird and wonderful fruits!
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: ina on February 21, 2004, 11:01:59
Goede morgen Ruud (that is good morning to the rest of you hahaha) and welcome. So glad you joined us. I am Dutch too and have an allotment of 260 m2 in Hoorn NH.

Did I read correctly that you grow 40 varieties of tomatoes and 40 yet to be sown? Maybe you meant plants and not varieties? Whatever the case, I think you can be the tomato expert here. Of all crops discussed on this board, I think tomatoes are one (if not the) of the  most talked about crop.

When do you sow tomatoes indoors? What types are your favorite? Which ones for in the greenhouse (kas) and which for outside? What tomato food do you use? I find the stuff I buy in the garden centres very expensive. Have your heard of the blight (aardappelziekte) resistant Ferline tomatoes? (Not available in Holland yet so I get them from England.)

Hope to see you here many times.

Title: Re: Toms
Post by: tim on February 21, 2004, 12:47:46
- now we really do have double Dutch!! = Tim
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: ina on February 21, 2004, 13:22:29
Woahahahaha. Why didn't I think of that?
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: ruud on February 22, 2004, 16:07:42
Hi,ina nice to hear from you.I have78 variaties so it was  a lie.Not 80 but 78 different of types.Black,green ,white, yellow,purple,striped,green inside and ofcourse red ones. Cherries,beafsteak,normal sized,huge ones.Bush, pole and even a tree<i am not kidding>.I have some big trades in the past autumn.If somebody wants the adresses of them,so you can make contact with them,i will give them.I have an advice.When you sow tomatoseeds,everybody knows that the likewarmth.I put them on top of my aquarium,so they have got warm you are living in hoorn,i am living in heemskerk so it is funny thar we chat  with euchother on a british side,weil we only live about 6o klm from  euch other.ruud
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: tim on February 22, 2004, 17:31:14
On the subject of propagation, we have off-peak heaters, and I have a shelf that fits on, 6" above. This gives a very useful, almost constant heat, when I don't want the main propagator on. = Tim
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Garden Manager on February 22, 2004, 17:35:53
Hello to Ruud. Welcome to the site.

I'd agree with the others, you have chosen yourself as site Tomato expert because of all the varietties you grow.

Speeking of which. What can you (or anyone else) tell me about the variety 'Sungella'. How/where best to grow it, fruit quality, crop size, general advice etc.

I t is just that i have just got the seeds of these (free witha magazine) and am planning to grow them this year. I want to try to get the best out of them. :)
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: ina on February 22, 2004, 20:34:10
78 types of tomatoes Ruud? I didn't even know there were that many types. You must have a very big aquarium to fit all the trays on hahaha. I put my tomato and pepper seed trays on an electric heating pad, that should work.

I only grow Ferline tomatoes now because at the allotment complex we got blight (aardappelziekte) every year in the other types I tried. Ferlines are blight resistant and they did very well last summer. Wonderful tomato too.

I grew up very near Heemskerk, in IJmuiden so I know the area well. Every summer of my youth, we lived on the beach in a beach cabin from april to september, not much gardening there hehe.
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Hot_Potato on February 22, 2004, 20:45:05
Have been reading all the above and am green with envy because you're all sowing tomato seeds....I'd decided not to even try to grow them....the reason being...I live in a flat....have only a tiny window sill in my kitchen which at present is housing my potatoes that are 'chitting' and a bag of asparagus 'roots' I managed to buy in Wilko's last week in Chelmsford on one of my regular visits.....I've not got a garden at all and no shed, greenhouse or cold frame (as yet) on my there didn't seem much point....however...last Saturday, before I went away...I went to a Valentine dance - something new for me, not danced for several years....and guess what I won....a pack of Moneymaker seeds, with mini propagator (78 seeds it says on packet) now feel I want to 'have a go'.....if I sow them soon, maybe as soon as I've planted some of the you think there's any hope of me raising them on the lottie?....I guess I'd have to put them in grow bags and be prepared to get up there in the summer months on a daily basis to water them.....or should I give them to someone who stands a better chance than me....don't like 'not have a go' now I've got them....oh and I also won a garden refuse carry bag at the same time!! that I can use!....H.P.
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Mrs Ava on February 22, 2004, 23:57:32
Hey hotpot, why would you wanna raise them in a grow bag if you have your lottie?  Why not plant them in the ground?  I would have a go, you have no excuse, and there is no reason why you can't sow them in March, I bet you will get a huge crop, and they will grow  quicker as it is warmer and lighter by then.  have a go!!!   ;D
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: ruud on February 23, 2004, 00:02:36
Hi richard,i mayby late or not,but i have the information you want.The tomato sungella is discribed om the side;,go to tomatoes and search for sungella.So ina you grew up in ijmuiden,dus dan ben je een viskop,lol,sorry little bit fun between fellow dutchies.To protect ina i would not translate it in english,sorry.And bytheway i have a very big aquarium.E.j. i hope you have fun with the seeds.
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Hot_Potato on February 23, 2004, 00:49:17
Hi E.J. - thanks for the encouragement...I'll certainly give it a go...I just assumed after reading in my Vegetable & Herb Expert book that growing them directly into the soil might be difficult, especially as yet, the ground is not even dug and certainly wont have had any manure or compost on it - the plot has been neglected for several years....just thought it would be safer to plant them direct into grow bags where they'd get more nutrients etc....but then of course, the watering becomes even more crucial, which will be difficult for me as I have to keep going away!.....can however put some fertiliser on before and after I dig it, prior to planting them they say - nothing ventured, nothing gained...H.P.
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: ina on February 23, 2004, 11:59:18
Hi Hot Potato. The seedlings won't be able to go outside for a long time yet (middle of May?), plenty of time to get a place ready for them. Make sure to find a sheltered place in the sun and they should be fine. I would dig a hole and empty a bag of potting soil into it before planting.

If you get a grow light, your seedlings will not grow too leggy and remember to repot them a few times up to the top few leaves so that they do not get too tall and grow a nice set of roots. They will need tomato food every week when they are planted out. Mine are on the lottie and I don't go every day either, twice a week usually. Dig a flower pot or bottle without bottom in near the plant and water in there, the water will go deep and not evaporate before it gets down to the roots.

What have you got to lose? Good luck, go and surprise yourself.
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: ina on February 23, 2004, 12:01:42
Ruud, I responded to your message in the shed. ina
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: aquilegia on February 23, 2004, 14:15:01
Hotpot - I grew toms very successfully last year without a greenhouse. I started them on the window sill, gradually hardened them off and then planted out after the frosts. I grew some in large pots, some in growbags and most in the ground. The best croppers were those in the ground. I watered them once a day (sometimes every other day) the pot ones needed daily/twice daily watering and still didn't produce as many toms.

Grow bags have less nutrients than are in the ground - compost doesn't hold nutrients as well as soil (you'll probably have to feed grow bags more). When they are in the soil they can send roots down and have access to more water and don't dry/become water logged.

I'm not going to ever bother doing them anywhere but in the ground again!
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Doris_Pinks on February 23, 2004, 14:17:53
I put mine in the ground at my lottie, and they were a complete disater.sorry:-(  they all got blight.   So never growing them up there again!!DP
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Garden Manager on February 23, 2004, 19:58:19
Thanks to Ruud - Re Sungella toms.

"Hot potato" - Do give it a go. If you have somewhere light and warm to keep them until the last frost in your area, you can certainly try them on your lottie.  Not sure how you'd get around the hardening off of the plants before planting out, but I suppose if you kept them in a cooler place just before planting this would be ok.  Planting site should have plenty of compost added before hand. Water in well after planting.  Good luck!

I wish i could grow all of mine directly in the ground, I just dont have the space in the plottie to do it. I have tried a few in the ground in the past and the plants cropped well.  Most of them though have to be grown in large pots against a sunny fence.
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: ina on February 23, 2004, 20:08:37
Hi Doris Pinks. Why don't you try the blight resistant ones? They came along just as I was giving up growing tomatoes on the lottie after getting blight every time and they did well.
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Doris_Pinks on February 24, 2004, 00:37:05
I haven't seen them Ina, will keep my eyes open.thanks! :-)
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: ina on February 24, 2004, 23:42:49
Just google Ferline tomatoes
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Captain_Blood on February 25, 2004, 10:56:12
Ferline toms at
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Doris_Pinks on February 25, 2004, 11:07:19
Thank you you 2! Will give them a go!
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: Doris_Pinks on February 25, 2004, 13:56:38
Got them this morning at my local gardening center! Thank you again, looking forward to eating lucious blight free toms!:-)
Title: Re: Toms
Post by: ina on February 25, 2004, 19:48:00
I hope so that they'll work for you. Good luck.