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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Planting Cold Weather Tomato Seeds in July: The Third Wave

Maybe tomato seeds don't germinate in 100 degree heat. My plan is to plant cold weather tolerant tomatoes in July and tend them through to the first hard frost. I know my May tomatoes will be disease beaten or sun beaten come mid August and pretty much can be pulled by months end. Some of the cherry tomatoes survive every year into September. This year I figured, I would plant a third wave of cold tolerant tomatoes.

I ordered and planted the following varieties:

Sub Arctic Max: 62 day determinate. Bred for extremely cold climates. Dwarf vines of 2 1/2 oz fruits.

Oregon Spring V: 58 day determinate. Develop by Oregon University for short season gardeners. Medium to large fruit.

Silvery Fir Tree: 58 day indeterminate. Delicate lacy leaves with a silver sheen. 3 inch fruit from Russia.

Polar Baby: 60 day determinate. Very small plant that bear large harvest of 2 inch fruits. Developed in Alaska for cold weather.

Glacier: 58 day determinate. Sets fruit well in cold weather. Comes loaded with 2 -3 oz fruit. Potato leaf foliage.

Now I have a Russian Heirloom, a few bred specifics for cold, 2 unique foliages, both determinates & indeterminates and a variety of tomato sizes.  I figure that was the easy part.


Here is how I am starting them as of July 7th. They will be started and kept outdoors.


The five seed varieties, a baking tin and 8 oz styro-foam cups.



It is important to label both the side and bottom of the cup. Experience has taught me that the sun can erase the dye of permanent markers. Make sure you put 2 or 3 holes in the bottom of the cup. The plants will be watered from the bottom.




You want to pack the soil into the cup. I am using 50% Miracle Grow garden soil and 50% peat-moss. Press a finger in the center to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. I planted 2 seeds in each hole and will thin to keep the strongest.


I forgot I could only get 24 cups per tray. I  have 6 cups for 1 variety, 5 cups for 3 varieties and 3 cups for 1 variety. In the cup of 3 I did 2 holes in each and will keep the 2 plants growing in each cup.


The tray got filled with water. I will keep the try filled in the 90 degree heat. The experiment has launched. I will have extra plants for any locals.


4 comments:

  1. I finally have a space to grow things! But I'm in Florida and was searching around to find out if July was too late to plant tomato seeds. What do you think? Would it be a good idea to stick to cold-tolerant varieties or will Florida heat help instead of burn? Thanks for posting your experiences. Hope your garden is doing well!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I finally have a space to grow things! But I'm in Florida and was searching around to find out if July was too late to plant tomato seeds. What do you think? Would it be a good idea to stick to cold-tolerant varieties or will Florida heat help instead of burn? Thanks for posting your experiences. Hope your garden is doing well!





    I actually think you are blessed with a forever season for tomatoes. They are tropical. Some varieties have trouble setting fruit when temperatures stay in the high 90's. I have not experienced that issue before. Not only can you start tomatoes from seed but you can keep them growing year round. You probably have to plant rotations of tomatoes because disease and time will beat them up.




    I would recommend you see if there are transplants ready at your local nurseries and garden centers. It will save you some time. But if you start seeds now and keep them watered... they will sprout quickly and grow fantastically. You don't want cold tolerant varieties in your area. You want the HEAT loving varieties. If you have time google search tomato seed catalogs. Most catalogs are free. Get them coming to you and soon you will have more varieties of seeds then land to grow them.




    Check your average temperatures by month. I think you are good with standard tomatoes July through October. Cold tolerant are more for the 50's - 60's daily temps.




    Let me know how they grow.




    Good Luck!

    ReplyDelete
  3. hi,
    in Florida, we have 2 tomato seasons. We plant tomato seeds in July- August for the winter season and usually protect them from the heat and heavy rains at that time. By Sep- Oct, they are ready to be transplanted outside and up to the cold time (Jan) we are having fresh tomatoes. We don't have to pick only heat loving types because the fall season is not that hot.
    In Jan we start seeds under growing lights ot on windows inside for a new spring season to be ready for transplantation in March. Those who want to have tomatoes longer, usually plant heat tolerant tomatoes. But in my experience, any tomato varaeties are pretty much done by july-august due to heat,bugs, rains, humidity that caause all kind of problems.

    Happy gardening!
    Ana

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your right. Heat of August is taking out plants. Plus the humidity, insects, and all. This year I am experimenting with cutting my May plants back hard and I also planted some new plants. I hope to have about 5 left come end of august for a bit more. Your lucky you have 2 seasons. October takes out the tomatoes here for good.

    ReplyDelete

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