Tomatoes are a favorite of many if not most gardeners. Even if you don't like to eat them... growing a 6 foot plant with 50 pounds of tomatoes on it is rewarding. Rewarding, if not for the sheer size of the plant, your neighbors will love you for what you produce and give away.
I will be blogging and making videos this year based on what I am actually doing in my garden. Now is the time to start thinking about tomatoes (Zone 7ish) if you are going to be starting them indoors.
I often get asked, "When should I start tomatoes indoors?" The answer is based on when you want to get them outdoors. So... when do you want to get them outdoors? Do you want to use containers or earth beds? Do you want to be the first on the block to have red tomatoes? Do you want to use solar warmers, hot-house cages or other tricks to keep tomatoes warm so that you can plant early?
|Fresh from the Garden (Soon!) - The Rusted Vegetable Garden Blog|
The answer for tomatoes is 6-10 weeks before they would go outside. If you don't have the capacity to manage larger transplants indoors or protect them, then you want to start them 6-8 weeks before they would go outdoors. If you have the capacity to manage larger transplants then 8-10 weeks will work.
Tomatoes love the warmth. But we often confuse 50-60 degrees days as good for tomatoes. It is, but the soil temperature is the key to getting your tomatoes growing and getting that 'X days to maturity' counter ticking. The ground, either containers or earth beds, really needs to be around 60 degrees. Tomato plants will not actually sit dormant in cool soil, they just won't start effectively growing. The timer is not on!
They won't really start growing until the soil warms nicely. There are tricks you can use to help with warmth but that will be the subject of other blog entries and videos.
A Garden Tip: black plastic trash bags placed on the ground will absorb heat and warm the garden soil. You can secure a bag down with stones and cut a planting hole in the middle of it.
For now, it is time take this information into mind and figure out a plan for starting your tomatoes indoors. If you have questions feel free to leave me a comment. In very little time, we will all have bowl fulls of tomatoes like this... This season is beginning! Good luck in 2013.
|Last Year's Tomato Harvest - The Rusted Vegetable Garden Blog|
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