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direct seeding tomatoes

 
gloria smith
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I'm in zone 6 and I'm looking at a variety of options to determine which is best for direct seeding tomatoes/peppers. I can't start indoors because we don't heat the house during the day- but feel free to recommend an alternative, we have a huge south facing window its just unheated. ...and I always like to pretend that the economic collapse will happen tomorrow so I'm prepared. Anyways what are yalls success/failure tips and experiences with the following:
1. Growing them under a cloche
2. Growing early tomatoes- which varieties (no hybrids please)
3. Other options?
 
Su Ba
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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Decades ago when I lived in NJ I had a neighbor who started his tomatoes in a sunken cold frame built along the south facing wall of his house. A simple old window was the cover. He started his seeds in there quite early, though I don't recall the date anymore. On frost nights he covered the window with a wet blanket. Thus he never had his tomato seedlings get frost nipped. While this isn't direct seeding, it is a way to produce one's tomato transplants without heat or electricity.
 
John Polk
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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You didn't say where you are, so it is hard to give advice (other than generic).

Tomato seeds need 65-70* soil temps to germinate.
Peppers 70-75*

If you are direct seeding outdoors, you probably won't get any tomatoes/peppers unless you have at least 120 days of growing season. Cherry/Patio tomatoes are your best chance in short season areas.

 
gloria smith
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Thanks su ba i'll try that. I'm in missouri- i looked it up and it said 204 days, i don't know what criteria they use.
 
Bradley Dillinger
Posts: 25
Location: Cincinnati,OH Zone 6a
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You might also check out Eliot Coleman's Four-Season Harvest book. He speaks alot about Cold Frames and such. He also has said that if you put a second covering over your Cold Frame you get even better temps. I'm looking into direct seeding also, just because I want to see what a plant with an undisturbed root system will do, and also try to get early tomatoes.

I just purchased some Siberian Tomato Seeds today, that look like good candidates. http://www.reimerseeds.com/siberian-tomato

Also, I was looking at the Cold Set tomato, you might look into it also.
http://www.reimerseeds.com/cold-set-tomato.aspx

Hope that helps.
 
John Weiland
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Location: RRV of da Nort
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First decide on what general type of tomato that you want (paste, cherry, beefsteak, etc.)
Then start planting some of what you like *when* your normal planting date for other items would be. The experiment has thus begun.

See which ones make it....even if you have to help some through by tarping them near the end of the season.

Take the best performers and repeat....chances are over a few years, you will select for variants that will *generally* make from seed to fruit.


We have a paste variety that now pretty reliably "volunteers" from the previous year's seed that was left in the garden.....zone 4 near Fargo. We don't
trust it to do so and plant indoors for security, but have not been disappointed in many years now at how many plants make it to harvest from volunteer.
 
Jason Silberschneider
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We've had great success from simply chopping tomatoes up and putting them in our dog's foodbowl with her normal daily meal. She loves them!

Months later, tomato plants will appear in the strangest of places. Those that are in a suitable microclimate and not in the way of normal foot traffic go on to produce passable tomatoes. Natural selection.
 
rick gregory
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How about using a seed warmer to heat the soil combined with a translucent covering of some kind to let light in and retain heat? Here's a quick search to start you - https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=seed+bed+warmers&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8
 
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