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Dang...am I way too late for tomatoes?

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by Lippert Lodge on February 25, 2006 03:44 PM
You'll see just what a newbie I am now...I've been reading all the tomatoe threads because I would really like to try growing them for the first time this year (I'm new to my Central Valley planting zone--zone 9--San Joagin County near Sacramento). Anyway, from the looks of things, I'm too late? Is it possible to plant tomato plants rather than seeds? Can you point me to a site that can teach me all the steps? I like the sound of these brandywine and big beef tomatoes everyone's talking about.

Thanks very much for your help.
Stacy
by MissJamie on February 25, 2006 03:58 PM
hey there! and welcome to the garden helper!
quote:
Can you point me to a site that can teach me all the steps?
yeap...www.thegardenhelper.com...oh nevermind your already here! [Big Grin] if ya ask me...this is the only site you need to know about...ask and ye shall recieve...and it's not to late to start tomatoes because the season is just beginning! I haven't even started any of my seeds lol! if you want to start tomatoes from seed (that's what I'm gonna try to do this year) then you can start them inside if ya want to. all you have to do is plant them in some containers and put a light over them maybe 2" above them. I don't know for how long but somebody else that's grown them inside before will have to come along and help you with that part. but if you want to grow them from the plant and not start from seed then you dig the hole for the plant and plop the plant in the hole and water and feed every once and a while and make sure it gets LOADS of sun...the more sun the better. that's the basics of it! gardening isn't as hard as it sounds. if you don't succeed the first few times don't let it discourage you! like they say...when you fall off the bike jump back on! good luck! please stick around because we are VERY happy to have you here...you'll be addicted to gardening in no time [Wink]

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*~*Last night I played a blank tape at full blast. The mime next door went nuts.
*~* http://www.imagestation.com/album/?id=2125497034
by weezie13 on February 26, 2006 12:00 AM
Hi Stacy,
Here's one to get you started on some TOMATO conversation..
And it's never too late to start...

*I'm on my way out to Church basketball,
but htere's a ton of TOMATO lovers here,
that'll help you in your quest...
so, like Jamie said, stick around,
and don't be afraid to ask questions, and re~ask
if you just don't quite get it, we are always more than happy to help out a new gardener' and their tomato plants, *heck any plant for that matter* [Wink] [thumb] [flower] [flower]

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by ChristinaC on February 26, 2006 12:27 AM
Stacy, don't worry! You are far from being too late! I'm not familiar with Zone 9, though I wish!!! but tomatoes reach their maturity anywhere from 50 to 100 days depending on the type you are wanting to grow. Most of us here start our plants indoors during the Spring months and get them out in the garden mid May sometime. A lot of us haven't begun starting our seeds (being far too early) but I suppose being in Zone 9, you can start anytime.
You can just buy tomato plants but it really is both fun and rewarding to start them from seed yourself. Let us know what you decide to do and we'll help you all the way through. There are some absolute amazing gardeners here!

Christina

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by johnCT on February 26, 2006 02:26 AM
Definitely not too late to start from seed. Even in Zone 9. Most zone 9ers that I've read start theirs in Jan or so to get a big jump, but its not too late.

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John - Zone 6
by weezie13 on February 26, 2006 04:52 AM
I don't even start until April for mine,
so you are definately NOT behind..
Not by a long shot..
Your area could almost have two crop harvests
to my one...

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by kabuti on February 26, 2006 01:36 PM
Stacey, we also live in z-9, lets call it 'the twilight zone'. hehe. it gets hotter than hell here. in the San Juoaquin valley, you know, south of where you are. FYI I have seen several volunteer tomatoes sprout already this winter in my garden, now frost has killed them but they will be back....soon. I'm going to do the seedball thing this time & sow tom. seed directly in the beds as I understand they dont develope the long taproot if they are transplanted & we need the taproot here with the hot summers over 100deg. for extended periods. I had a vol. tom. out there last year & it never got watered until fall when I was clearing out garden for fall crops & it was scorching last summer. of course, they need water to produce edible size fruit, which it did promtly & abundantly until about a week ago. not that you need bother with any of this but something to consider in the future. maybe
by weezie13 on February 26, 2006 01:40 PM
Kabuti,
quote:
seed directly in the beds as I understand they dont develope the long taproot if they are transplanted & we need the taproot here with the hot summers over 100deg. for extended periods.
You can transplant a tomato, and plant it almost
right up to the branches at the top of the plant..

The tomato plant stem will root all along the way that's in or under the soil..
Which makes a GREAT root system, especially for those HOT SUMMER DAYS..

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by ChristinaC on February 26, 2006 01:52 PM
Kinda' off topic...sorry Stacy...but Weezie..I never did tell you about my tomato plant last year. I had mentioned in a post that I accidently broke a tomato plant in half and you told me to leave the broken half where it was go ahead and plant the top half. Well it was sad looking for a while but then it took off! It did just as well as the other plants and the bonus was, I ended up with an extra tomato plant!! [clappy] Thanks Weezie! [kissies]

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by weezie13 on February 26, 2006 10:30 PM
Christina, when you're talking about a
TOMATO, you're never off topic...lol!!!
[Wink] [thumb]
What you posted, especially, only re~enforces
what I told her about tomato stems..

And tomatoes are on of THE BEST PLANTS to let kids plant, cause they have a tendancy to bury things too deep, and if they do, its' not a huge problem, like it would be to some plants..

Thanks!!! [thumb] [kissies] [grin]

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by Lippert Lodge on February 26, 2006 11:06 PM
Thanks for all the great information! I think this year I might try BOTH transplanting from plants purchased at a local nursery (they're already available but the guy admitted it's too early to transplant them yet) AND from seed directly in the raised bed I have. And that's my next question: will my raised beds (inherited from the previous owner) work for tomatoes? they have a drip system but I can water by hand. And what would you do to prepare the soil? The previous owner used these beds for cutting flowers.

It's very encouraging to see how supportive everyone is. The problem I have right now is wanting to do too much at once. Coming from snow country, there are just TOO MANY OPTIONS here! I got quite overwhelmed yesterday at the nursery and just went home with a nice new pair of gardneing gloves! Actually, I also ended up buying two six packs of strawberrie. We'll see how that goes. Apparently it's not too soon to plant those.

Thanks again,
Stacy
by weezie13 on February 26, 2006 11:58 PM
quote:
And that's my next question: will my raised beds (inherited from the previous owner) work for tomatoes? they have a drip system but I can water by hand.
You have a "GARDENER'S HEAVEN" there for growing tomatoes.. Raised beds are wonderful for drainage.. and probably if they went to the work of putting in raised beds, did a good job with
the type of soil they put in..
****have you looked at the soil, felt it, looked at it's texture, color, smell???****

but for the drip irragation system that is heavenly to have for tomatoes.. tomatoes can get several soil borne disease's.. *nothing detramental to you.. just does stuff to the plant, and leaves.. you can still harvest the tomatoes..*
but what one of the thing that happens is, when a person waters, and the water splashes the dirt, and the dirt is then splashed up on the stem/leaves of the plant, that's sets into motion of how the plant becomes effected..
~~~~~~~~~>so, with that drip irragation, it cuts down dramatically the splashing..

Don't be over whelmed by what I said..

*and while you're learning all about tomatoes.
Go get a cuppa something to drink and do some reading here.. ther'es lot's.. especially here on the forum..
If you do a FORUM SEARCH and type in TOMATO you'll find a plethra of information..
Lot's of questions, you may not know to ask and things you'll learn..
on any of them, do not hesitate to ASK!!!

quote:
It's very encouraging to see how supportive everyone is.
Ther'es a ton of tomato growers here, alllll ready and more than willing to send and share their enthusiasm with you about tomatoes and gardening...

It really is a Cyber Gardening Family Community..
Not only will you find alot of support for your gardening, but just about everything else here too..

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by johnCT on February 27, 2006 03:20 AM
Stacy, have you thought of starting seed indoors under shoplights?

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John - Zone 6
by Lippert Lodge on February 27, 2006 08:29 AM
Yes, I am thinking of doing that. The previous owners also left a TON of (what I thought was) gardening junk that includes lots of seed trays! And there are lots of shop lights in the garage/hobby area. So I plan to make the seed-planting a fun project for the kiddos to experience. We'll do it together as an experiment and see which ones (if any!) do well.

Stacy
by weezie13 on February 27, 2006 08:43 AM
Man Stacy, what a lucky duck you are..
To be left that kind of stuff...

I am always searching for 6 pks and assorted
gardening pots/containers.

What allllll did they leave you???

And are your kiddo's little?
Marigolds are always a good starter for them.
And raddishes.. very easy to start, and very quick to turn into something..
Peas are alot of fun too, they can pick them right there in the garden and eat...

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by kabuti on February 28, 2006 02:56 AM
Weezie
i think the origional taproot is still different from the roots tomatoes develope from being planted all along the stem. I dont think those roots will go down as far, you know 6-8 ft or more depending on the soil conditions, like before I double digged, roots could only penetrate 6-8 inches.
by weezie13 on February 28, 2006 03:21 AM
Well, I can not honestly say I've heard that,
6 or 8 FEET??
Holy Cow...
That doesn't happen around here with all the clay we have...
6 to 8 FEET????????/

Ohhhhhh, please, if you ever get a picture of that, I have gottttttt to see it,
please....
I am not kidding or being funny, I would really like to see it...

I have a raised bed, they are 2 ft tall, and lot's of top soil, manure and compost,
but I never get that long of a root system..
They have a nice one, spread out pretty far..
But not that deep....
Although, they are not double dug either, so that may be why..

Wow, that's alot of work, double digging too..
and truely a passionate gardener!!!!

I will have to do some more reading up on them,
as I've never read that the roots can be that long.

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by tkhooper on February 28, 2006 03:30 AM
Well one thing I learned last year is that if you take cuttings and root those the harvest from that plant will be greater than from a seedling.

Lets see what else did I learn last year. Oh yes, tomatoes love, love, love compost. I think I saw somewhere that amending the soil with 50% compost will make them very very happy.

Last of all I learned that you want to move your tomatoes from place to place over the years rather than always planting them in the same spot. And that's about all this beginner knows.

I wish you the best of luck with your new garden and a bountiful harvest.

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by BigBoy on March 03, 2006 07:03 AM
Lippert- welcome. It's always good to disinfect grow containers before using them. Personally, I use new inexpensive ones each year. Tomato diseases are easier to prevent than cure.
If you start tomatoes indoors from seeds, buy some seed starting soiless mixture, get a heating tray to set your domed seed trays on, a 4' double or quad grow light, and a cheap water mister for keeping the topsoil moist but not wet. Your plants will jump out in 4-5 days. Plenty of time. If you're just getting into tomatoes, buy some established plants from a reputable greenhouse and plant deep- pinch off one or two lower branches after loosening the roots. A weak mixture of starter fertilizer poured into the hole helps with trnsplant shock.
Tomatoes actually thrive on neglect . . . they are really a member of the nightshade family and will spread all over the ground if left untended year after year. Ask Weezie about her "volunteers" in the compost pile. [Smile]
by weezie13 on March 03, 2006 11:54 AM
quote:
Ask Weezie about her "volunteers" in the compost pile.
That one year, when I saved alot of them, I lost count over a 100 of them... well, not lost count, just got reallly tired of counting them and keeping track....

They didn't do all that bad.. go some fruit..
they were late, but that's okay..
And gave a bunch to the neighbor and her and the kids loved them...

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by Greenthumb newbee on March 07, 2006 01:49 PM
To all,

Last year My tomatos got really big plants 5-7 feet tall and spread out over 4 feet wide at least. Your right on the compost. I did almost EVERYTHING you can do. Burn pile where the garden is before planting. 6 tubes of sand , ALOT of chicken manure (helps my bro in law raises over 60 chickens) My neighbor gave me some horse manure and finally LOTS of both organic garden\tree leaf compost and Tree compost (wood chips and peat moss)

Talk about big plants. Oh... I forgot to mention that I used the Ortho plant food (the one with the water hose) I had like 4 big boy and 8 roma plants with 1 cheery tomato plant. Lets say I ate ALOT of tomatos on sandwiches, made several gallons of tomato sauce and finally when the cold weather was killing the plants I pulled all the tomatos off before the first frost I had over 40lbs of green tomatos. I got them to ripen and did`nt buy any tomatos for most of the year. I tried the wire racks which the plants fell over in because they got too big. solution. I went to Farm and Home and got a tomato fence which is about 8'x 4'. I folded it in half and the plant filled in really good. too good acually but it kept the plants big and strong. IF I can find any pics I will post them.

Can`t wait till spring.
by detectorbill on March 13, 2006 04:25 AM
Anyone know the cheapest route to take for baskets for my matter plants. Thought about stakes the old fashion way but not sure. I'm planning about 30 plants.

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I feel more like I do now than I did before I ever felt this way.
by weezie13 on March 13, 2006 11:33 AM
I just use 5 gallon "food grade" buckets...

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by detectorbill on March 13, 2006 12:02 PM
I said baskets, what I meant were cages. Sorry!

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I feel more like I do now than I did before I ever felt this way.
by weezie13 on March 13, 2006 12:07 PM
[Wink] [Big Grin]

Yep, you can use regular cages..and stakes...
*especially for the taller varieties of mater's.

I also found some rabbit fencing at my local tractor supply...
and made my own..
a bit time consuming, but it was fun...

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by johnCT on March 13, 2006 11:05 PM
Stakes are probably the cheapest route, but for cages you can use garden fencing or what I'm doing is using concrete reinforcing wire(CRW) to make my cages. They'll last for years.

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John - Zone 6

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