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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.

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