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tomato seed starting day dec 15 2010

as I am writing this it is 2 more days till I start my early tomato plants from seed.
It is that great day in the calender DEC 15 the day I follow the guidance of the wise and great tomato grower.
Who is this great grower. Well he grew a tomato like no other before or since. the growers name Is Gordon Graham. he was a great grower because he had his first tomatoes by may 1, grew a 50+ ft long tomato plant and a 7.75 lbs and in zone 7 in a little town north of Oklahoma city.

my plant out day from starting so early is between Feb 10-20 just in-case the blizzards call again.
 
When to start your seeds, of any kind, and when to plant outside depends on where in the world you are. In Australia and New Zeland it is now summer while Ottawa, Ontario is in the thros of winter. In parts of California there are tomato growers busy growing tomatoes outside while in Maryland they cannot grow tomatoes outside right now.
Some of us up here could still be growing plants of the cole family and lettuce, in a cold frame, but not much else. What and when depends on where you are.
 

The sign of a good gardener is not a green thumb, it is brown knees.

West central Michigan along the lakeshore.

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If I started my tomatoes in December I would hardly be able to carry them outside in May. I started one tray of early tomatoes in February last year and they were quite large when sold or planted in early May.
Next month I will start slow growing peppers like bhut and slow growing perennials and perennial herbs like rosemary.
Right now I have a nice pot of belgian endive to keep me happy.
 

 

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Small market and CSA grower. 1/2 acre. Doing too much by myself but trying. http://www.localharvest.org/member/M33044

Central Minnesota Zone 4

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I'm in florida, I still have about a month to go befire I put up my seeds. its 17 degrees here today.
 
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Oh, shoot, here I am again, defying my own rule about ignoring trolls.

What was Gordon Graham's guidance? How was he wise?

Have you put out tomato plants before in February in zone 7, and what happened?
 
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Correct me if I am wrong but I thought that if you delayed putting a tomato into the ground and kept it in a pot too long, that it would set it back as far as growth. And if it is too cool, that the plants go into a somewhat dorment state that they cannot come back from. You may get tomatoes but nowhere near as many as if you planted when the soil was warm enough.
So here we go, urban myth??
 
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Nope, truth. I've seen it too many times when I try to rush the season.
 
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Here in Zone 6/7 Virginia, if I started my tomatoes any earlier than late Feb./early March, I'd have to transplant them all up the wazoo until even Tarzan wouldn't be able to fight his way through my house. It would be ridiculous, & the plants wouldn't gain anything at all.

I'd much rather plant them at the correct time for my area to put out husky, bushy, healthy plants. And frankly, I think these "must have the first ripe tomato on the block" things are juvenile, unless you're growing for market. But whatever floats your boat.
 

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"My body is a temple - unfortunately, it's a fixer-upper."

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"And no, I'm NOT being snarky."

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Zone 7a, Culpeper, Virginia

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I agree that starting seedlings too early has it's drawbacks. First of all, I am ready to get the mess out of the house. So 6 wks prior to planting in optimal outdoor conditions is perfect for me. I don't have time to baby them any longer than that! Nor do I have time to baby them by putting them out too soon.

Seedlings will do what they naturally do outside when the temps are right. No amount of manipulation is going to change that, IMHO.

"Is" is a funny first name.
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Everything that blooms and grows, the garden angel scatters and sows...in the land of corn and pigs...Iowa Zone 4-5

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I start almost all of my tomato, eggplant, and pepper seeds on or about 4-1. Any earlier than that will be too large by the actual time to transplant, so I will have to put them in larger pots (requiring far more space than I have under those lights), or put them out under cover. I do this with a few tomatoes, about 15-20 days early, then put them under WOWs, 15-20 days early, but with EP I don't seem to get any earlier fruits, and with peppers they seem to be stunted, due to the cold soil, I am guessing. With peppers I start a very few early, but I have to put them in 6" pots, then in larger pots, before it's time to go out for good. I can't imagine starting any of these things this early!

Dave
 

Dave    in Woodbury, NJ  zone 6B

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quote:
Pfossel

Gordan Grahams guidance can be found in
Organic Gardening (08973792), Nov95 p30
Giant tomatoes by Marvin H. Meisner,
How to grow giant tomatoes by Gordon Graham
Southern Living Oct 1995, p 95-96
 
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But exactly who really cares about "Gordon Graham" & his "guidance" if his methods don't work for one's particular situation.

Sorry Grid - gardening isn't & wasn't meant to be cut & dry. Just because Gordon is your own little "guru", doesn't mean he has to be everyone's. Roll Eyes
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"My body is a temple - unfortunately, it's a fixer-upper."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"And no, I'm NOT being snarky."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Zone 7a, Culpeper, Virginia

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I am seriously thinking about going with the winter sow method and my tomatoes. I may try it both ways and experiment.

But last year, I had tomatoes volunteer in my garden, and they really did no worse than the babies that I started in the house. I set up my WOW's in early April, and put small plants in them a week later. I found that they don't get root bound, and do better than the bigger root bound plants.

we will see. However, I will admit to the juvenile pleasure of having fresh tomatoes earlier than any of my neighbors! They know I am nuts anyway!

mk
 
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How much heat you put on your tomato seedlings makes a huge difference in how fast they grow- as does light. If light isn't strong or close they will get very tall. So a seedling tray with a moderate temp and close, strong light and a little air movement will grow much slower and chunkier.
 

 

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Small market and CSA grower. 1/2 acre. Doing too much by myself but trying. http://www.localharvest.org/member/M33044

Central Minnesota Zone 4

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Man, there's wisdom in these here threads, Minnie, Mrs. K, and Breezy among them.

I learned from an old Italian grower decades ago that no matter when you start tomatoes, or why, or when you set them out, or what devices you use, you ain't gettin' tomatoes until the sun warms the earth.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by gridgardener7:
as . he was a great grower because he had his first tomatoes by may 1, grew a 50+ ft long tomato plant and a 7.75 lbs and in zone 7 in a little town north of Oklahoma city.


Any reports on how it tasted? The reason I ask is, a giant cardboard box will still taste like cardboard, no matter how early or huge it is.

Just saying...

Wayne
 

Adirondackgardener

Mainegardener

Trying out Northeast PA.

 

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Dayamn Wayne, you go for the throat. Must be those Maine winters. Meet me on Racquette Lake, we'll camp, have some beers, fish, you'll settle down.
 
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OMG - Racquette Lake. Talk about a blast from the past!!!! I spent a wonderful week there with one of my high school science classes. What a terrific time!!

And in fact my mom - who's a fabulous artist - actually did a lovely oil painting for me of a lovely "Racquette Lake" scene she saw in a New England magazine (which she adapted substantially, of course - lol!).
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"My body is a temple - unfortunately, it's a fixer-upper."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"And no, I'm NOT being snarky."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Zone 7a, Culpeper, Virginia

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Might you share that painting? That was my sacred lake as a younger man.
 
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Mrs. K-og: I tried winter sowing tomatoes two years ago. The ones I kept at my house did NOTHING. The ones I gave to my daughter, 25 miles south of me, went nuts and gave them a great harvest. Wintersowing has been tremendous for me with lettuces. I start them in January, they start growing "when they should" and we eat that lettuce until September. I'm not kidding. Last year I transplanted those puppies and we ate them all summer and into the fall. Nothing much else has done great for me wintersowing, but lettuce is great!
 
Take me home Country Roads to the place I belong...
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I am very spoiled where I live, and have the luxury of being lazy and planting stuff late, so I get to spend my December making Christmas cards and baking cookies. Smiler I would love to start my basil now, if I thought it had a chance of growing.

--J--
 
You should always have a plant B.
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waynesgarden there is a report of how it tasted and which variety it was and how many sandwiches/slices it made.
it tasted good, variety "delicious" ,23 sandwiches.
Any other stupid questions wayne. Since the answers could easily found using google.
 
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quote:
Any other stupid questions wayne. Since the answers could easily found using google.



Yeah, how do you like chowing down on tree-trunk sized zucchini?

Size isn't usually an indicator of taste. In fact, overly large vegetables are very often poor tasting. I'm surprised that you don't know this.

Wayne
 

Adirondackgardener

Mainegardener

Trying out Northeast PA.

 

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waynes tree trunk zucchini taste quite good. Since I have English friend who makes interesting dishes with them. Wayne only certain giant vegetable don't taste good or not really good for food. the following giant vegetables are quite tasty tomato,watermelon,cantaloupe,beets ,radish,onion and several others. Being huge and not tasty is not universal.
 
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Now, now Wayne - don't feed the "Cantankerous" - LOL!!!!!
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"My body is a temple - unfortunately, it's a fixer-upper."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"And no, I'm NOT being snarky."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Zone 7a, Culpeper, Virginia

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quote:
Originally posted by Pfossel:
Might you share that painting? That was my sacred lake as a younger man.


If I can locate it in storage - will do!! It held a place of honor in our previous log home up in the mountains on the WV/VA border, but unfortunately our current smaller place (which is pretty much wall-to-wall floor-to-ceiling glass) doesn't have any suitable wall space to mount it, since it's a large piece.

Doesn't show much of the actual lake - mostly the woods/bog & several deer. Was taken, if I remember correctly, from a painting posted in Adirondack Life magazine that I used to subscribe to back when I lived in NY & we were thinking of moving up that way.
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"My body is a temple - unfortunately, it's a fixer-upper."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"And no, I'm NOT being snarky."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Zone 7a, Culpeper, Virginia

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