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for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
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tomato: transplant vs. seed  RSS feed

 
Posts: 26
Location: Richmond, Va
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I know I'm not in the running, but thought you guys might like this. I'm in Virginia and this just sprouted under my porch where there is almost no soil.
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The will to survive and replicate is awesome. Save the seed for future growing seasons.
 
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Location: Seaside, OR
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I am a "pod person" that has been an avid listener for a while but only started posting today. I live in Seaside on the Oregon coast. It can be tricky growing tomatoes because of our maritime climate of cool summers (avg 65-75) but I have had success in growing cherry tomatoes Sweet 100 and Sweetie as well as the ultra early varieties of regular tomatoes like Stupice (60-65 days), the extra early Oregon Spring (75-80 days) and Early Girl (also 75-80 days). Usually I would start them in my basement and then transplant under clear plastic teepees supported by bamboo sticks. This spring, before I even heard of the experiment, I had already direct seeded Sweetie cherry tomatoes under a clear plastic cut soda bottle. I did it on April 1st because on that day I had noticed that volunteer pumpkins had sprouted in my other composted bed. I was very surprised as I assumed the soil was still to wet and cold for seeds to sprout! The tomatoes sprouted April 21st. On May 4th I got around to starting Sweeties in my basement. I transplanted it out June 13th. From the pictures you can see that the direct seeded one's stem is only 1/2 as large as the transplanted one. I don't have a way to weigh the yield of each plant but by eyeballing it, it looks like the transplanted one is larger all around and has more fruit. They are both in my new asparagus bed which has a few 4 inch diameter pine branches buried inside it. (My lame attempt at hugelculture...) I don't know how scientific my experiment was but I thought I would share my results anyway...BTW Paul, I make a mean blackberry pie if you are ever in the area let me know!
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transplant on left-direct seeded on right
 
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Here is a reasonable facsimile of the volunteer plants I grew this summer. I believe it was a cross between a Climbing Trip-L-Crop and a yellow Pear tomato. I was quite surprised to end up with orange tomatoes! They tasted OK, and I'm saving seed to see what happens next year!
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Posts: 47
Location: Cascadia Zone 8b Clay
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Sarah Loy wrote:The amount of variability with transplants is, of course huge. I am really interested to see how this comes out but I hope folks give a lot of detail in their method. Good tomato transplants require full sun, should have bottom heat for fast germination and to stimulate root growth. The seeding mix should be well aerated and have good moisture retention. Pot size should be matched to the length of time that the plant will be growing before transplanting out so that roots are developed enough to hold together the potting mix at time of transplant but not to the point becoming root bound. Watering should be even so that the plants are not stressed by wilt. Good temperatures for tomatoes are in the 80's F day and 60's F night. Plants should be hardened off in a coldframe for a few days to a week before transplant. Once transplanted in, with as little root disturbance as possible, they should be watered in with a nutrient tea. The reason people started using transplants was to optimize the growing environment to get an earlier start or to prevent the loss of precious seeds. If someone's situation makes it difficult to produce a good healthy transplant then it is unlikely to out perform the direct seeded one. People with long growing seasons have a lot more room for variable conditions. In our short season we need season extension on both ends most years to get a decent crop of tomatoes and a lot of people now grow them in high tunnels for the whole season. It's actually a lot less work for me to raise a transplant in my greenhouse then it would be to be protecting the direct seeded one on a 20 degree F night in May. Tomatoes are some of the easiest things to transplant, luckily since they produce adventitious roots. Cucurbits are a whole different story. They really suffer from any root disturbance so I either direct seed if they don't need a long season, like pumpkins or squash, or seed into jiffy 7's if the seed is super expensive, or needs a little longer season, like melons. Happy growing everyone. Most of our snow is gone other then the shady spots now and I can hardly wait to see some green tree buds.


I have to agree with this post - we planted out transplants from our local farmers market farm this spring - and we got a veritable jungle of heirloom and cherry tomatoes - 8 feet tall and just cascading out of the raised beds - we did not start any seeds directly in the beds to compare; but if we had they would have been at least a good 8 weeks late if not 12 weeks late compared to these starts that were begun in a greenhouse well before last frost. We had amazing crops of tomoates, peppers and eggplants this way - into south side of the house raised beds of compost mix soils and composted manure along with the Steve Solomon Cascadia organic fertilizer mix - everything was huge, prolific and abundant from basils and herbs to volunteer squash and transplanted peppers, eggplants and tomatoes - triple harvests on eggplants were astounding!
 
Cynthia Durham
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I had a ton of volunteer plants come up from last year's plants, and was especially proud of my cherry tomatoes. They are still producing, and I am covering them up tomorrow for a couple of low temp nights, after which time I'll be able to uncover them again. I hope to keep them in a greenhouse that we are going over them. (We're getting the bamboo this weekend.) Wish us luck!
 
pollinator
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This thread came to mind as I was watering tomato transplants this morning, (Spring here in NZ). As I remember, the results pretty heavily favoured transplanting over direct seeding. I was wondering whether that result reflects the length of time that tomatoes have been domesticated? It would be interesting to try the same experiment with wild ancestors of our domestic varieties. Does anyone here live anywhere that this would be possible?
 
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Sue Rine wrote:This thread came to mind as I was watering tomato transplants this morning, (Spring here in NZ). As I remember, the results pretty heavily favoured transplanting over direct seeding. I was wondering whether that result reflects the length of time that tomatoes have been domesticated? It would be interesting to try the same experiment with wild ancestors of our domestic varieties. Does anyone here live anywhere that this would be possible?


I am unsure what this year's results mean, although I agree the transplants seem to have out performed.
Next year I may have, effectively, the test you are describing. I had a huge rate of drops for various reasons from several varieties of tomatoes.
Next spring, if I get tomatoes popping up all over the place I will get good testing of "naturalizing" tomatoes. Not ancestral, but going feral 😀
 
Sue Rine
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We had lots come up in the compost from our composting toilet. I'd read in permaculture 1or 2 that tomato seeds go through the human gut undamaged so I had a good chuckle when I saw them. It would also be interesting to see how they respond to naturalising over a period of years or decades. I believe the originals were perennial, but tender so only in frost free climates.
 
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I have come to this thread many times to wrap up the contest. I had a powerful dilemma which I finally made a choice on and am now ready to proceed.

From the first post:

In the series of wanting to see big innovations in permaculture, I hereby announce that I'm going to give away a $1000 gift certificate to best proof/example of starting a tomato from seed rather than a transplant.

This test requires a side-by-side test. At least two plants are required: one that is started from seed, directly in the soil, and one that is started from a transplant. It is important all of the plants/seeds must be of the same variety of tomato. Lots of experimenting is encouraged.

[...]

Rather than explore "how to have a lame harvest with volunteers" I wish to explore "how to have a magnificent harvest with volunteers or direct seeding". (since volunteers are difficult to measure in a variety of ways, let's stick to direct seeding)


The dilemma is: nobody has put forth a valid entry. There is no entry that demonstrates the value of starting a tomato from seed is better than a transplant. However, we do seem to have one entry that arrived in time for the contest deadline - and that entry showed a transplant outperforming a plant started from seed. Although the results for the best performing plant is extremely weak - it makes me wonder about the quality of soil and sun at the test location. And while it is clear that a lot of effort went into performing the test and documenting the results, it still doesn't qualify.

The dilemma I was struggling with was: should I award the "best entry" based on there being only one entry and that entry does not qualify? I brought this question up in the secret inner circle forum and after some discussion, I've decided to say that there were no valid entries for 2014, and roll the contest over to next year.

And for next year, I will edit the first post to insist that entries must include a side-by-side picture or video.

I have now put a note in my calendar to start this contest again on January 1.

Any other suggestions for this contest for next year?



 
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I think there is a risky line when someone says "I will give you X as long as you give me Y results." That can lead to very bad science and I suspect it is a lot of why we have so many scientists setting up biased tests that favor a specific answer. I think we learned some things of value from this year, most specifically that we need to be very controlled about how we are measuring. I think the testing should include several things that are going to be very important. These are just my ideas, so they may not jive with your own, but since you are asking for suggestions, here are some of the things I had planned to be careful about if the original contest hadn't started too late for Texas weather.

  • All seeds must be started by yourself and be of the same variety. (IE: No starting some of your own from seed, but buying some from the garden center that may have a month or more head start)
  • Detailed notations of any amendments must be noted (This is especially important regarding the transplants since they often need something in their water to help them grow strong. Most potting soil is worthless for growing long term.)
  • Do we allow for a head start on planting times (which is the whole reason for transplanting in the first place) and if so, how much of a head start is the maximum?
  • You may want to state something about culling. Normally when we buy a transplant, we look for the healthiest plant there. If we need X plants and are growing our own transplants, most people start extras and only take the strongest. This should also be the case with the ground planted seeds. Either no culling or set amounts of culling allowed.
  • Plants should not all be planted in patches by type, but spread out and labeled. By alternating, there is less risk of skewed results because of favorable conditions in one part of the garden over another.
  • All dates should be noted clearly on milestones.
  • Pictures should include not just the final, but also of other milestones. 2 weeks, 1 month, etc.
  • There must be a clear measure of production. One plant being larger is meaningless if the smaller plant produces more fruit. I would like things like the largest and smallest fruit from each growing method, total average poundage per planting method, etc. I'd also love something subjective like blind taste testing if someone wanted to go the extra mile, though I suspect they would all taste the same since months of growing in the same conditions seems like it would be the only real factor there.
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    gardener
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    D Logan has many valid points... if you want clear results it has to be run like a true experiment with controlled conditions.

    I live in a microclime that is not very conducive to getting good tomatoes; one year I tried to give my plants every advantage I could... I had a red brandywine that was 2nd position from the sprinkler; and it gave me abundant and huge yield, another at 7th was half the yield. Sister plants started from seed and transplanted and similar health; one got more cooling, humidity and water. Not much, but enough to tip it.

    The call for advance start versus seed in ground; this will not make a difference after two months if you are doing an indeterminant; it will make a big difference in some of the determinants. We have a lot of variables here...
     
    Peter Ellis
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    When this concept was initially posted I was very interested. Then Paul clarified, as he has again now, that this was not a distributed research project, but a search for a predetermined finding. I do not have any interest in that.
     
    D. Logan
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    A follow-up thought occurred to me. Maybe the results of this test /do/ confirm something of high value. When this all began, it was based on observations of volunteer plants in comparison to transplanted ones. What we have done is not actually the same as a volunteer. Not precisely anyway. We took individual seeds and planted them outside. In some cases, we gave them advantages to get them warmed up a little quicker, but that was about it. A lone seed or two is far different from an entire tomato that rotted away over the winter. I've noticed that most of the time, only two or three of those volunteers sprout in a single spot. There might be as many as fifty seeds there, but only two or three come up where the tomato was. I'd almost bet they happened to be the ones most suited to handle earlier cold and that having the rotted tomato there (or in some cases sitting in a giant pile of compost) is what got them the head start they needed to hold their own against the transplants. Compost especially is well known for being warm.

    Transplants get started up to a month and a half before they get put outside, so a lone seed and a transplant in exactly the same conditions and environment seems destined to favor the transplant, even with root system limitations. Tomatoes are really good at putting out a lot of roots broadly and quickly in my experience. Perhaps the better experiment is putting whole tomatoes on the ground in protected cages and then waiting to see how they are doing by the time spring lets them sprout? Not sure if any of that is true, but it is what I have been pondering while thinking about the best method of testing the hypothesis.
     
    paul wheaton
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    It as if I had a contest for the recipe for the most delicious cake. And it turns out that most people don't bake cakes. They make hard-tack. I've eaten cake. I've met a lot of people that have eaten cake.

    I don't want a recipe for hard-tack. I want a recipe for cake. A good recipe for cake.

    Some people might say that there is no such thing as cake. The closest thing you can have to cake is hard-tack.

    And now somebody is saying that of all the recipes everywhere, it is wrong to limit your result set to just cake. By limiting the results to just cake, or considering only the cake results, that's not true science.

    I do not wish to run a contest for the people that don't believe in cake. I want a contest for the cake lovers. for the people that have baked cakes, tasted cakes and enjoy cakes.


     
    Deb Rebel
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    We're just trying to point out, Paul, that it may be difficult to get a result or results to judge.

    A better adapted to the climate and growing conditions tomato will outdo something outside it's zone. (case in point, Mr. Stripey. IF it gets the conditions it likes this heirloom does well and it is massively wonderful... if it gets too hot or dry that season for it, it does stinko.)

    Paul, I know what you WANT for a contest; just trying to point out it might not happen the way you want or expect is all.

    Any tomato that gives me goodness in season, is a good tomato And what will grow here won't grow the same elsewhere.... sigh.
     
    Peter Ellis
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    My error was in thinking this was to be an experiment, not. a contest.
    Experiments interest me. They result in improved knowledge and understanding.
     
    Deb Rebel
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    Agreed.

    Now posting our observations, period, is great. I have two hugelkultur experiments going; one was dumping brush in a depression on my property and putting half cooked compost and dirt on it, early this spring I should finish that burial and I will give it a massive water then seed it. Tomatoes and some other 'hold the dirt together' stuff, and another is a cement block raised planter to bury some stumps I can't dig out (they were put right over the water main! on a platted but never built street that I now 'control') that I hope will rot off, and I'm going to be putting strawberries on those....

    Now if I mound the same topping material from the hugelkutur near it, and seed that; and plant transplanted tomato plants onto both as well, I should be able to get a comparison... hm.
     
    D. Logan
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    I think what Paul is saying there (and correct me if I am wrong on this Paul), is that there is an experiment, but not the one some of us were thinking it was. The testing isn't to determine "Do seeds always do better?". Instead, what we are trying to determine is "What is it about volunteers that makes them seem to do better than transplants?". When we can figure that part out, IE: Grow a tomato directly and have it do better than the transplant, we will have found what the key elements are that cause the observed exceptional nature of the volunteers.

    When I mentioned the warning about being careful not to make it a matter of looking for only one result, it was just that, a warning. I don't think that is what was meant to happen here and Paul's cake analogy confirms that it was not. He wants to understand an observable event an determine what conditions are involved in making repeatable by design rather than by accident. It is a contest, but it is also an experiment in that case. Just as there are rewards out there among other sciences for the first person who finds or proves some theoretical thing.

    I suspect a lot of us thought there was a whole different question we were trying to answer, which is why the results didn't jive with the intent.
     
    Deb Rebel
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    amen, that sums it up, thanks D. Logan
     
    Sue Rine
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    Yes, I had assumed it was a trial to see whether direct seeded or transplants work better.
    If it is about finding how to get great tomatoes from seed then it would be helpful to plant pairs, ( one transplant, one direct seeded tomato), side by side under various different conditions, no?
     
    pollinator
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    paul wheaton wrote:
    This test requires a side-by-side test. At least two plants are required: one that is started from seed, directly in the soil, and one that is started from a transplant. It is important all of the plants/seeds must be of the same variety of tomato. Lots of experimenting is encouraged.


    The original directions did call for a side-by-side test!
     
    Peter Ellis
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    The observation was made that in some circumstances volunteer tomato plants out performed transplanted tomatoes.
    This could lead to a hypothesis that direct seeded tomatoes out perform transplants.
    This hypothesis could be tested by doing comparison plantings, with direct seeded tomatoes and greenhouse transplants.
    Parameters for the experiment might include planting the seeds on the same date both in a greenhouse and out in the final growth beds.
    The greenhouse starts might then be transplanted to locations adjacent to the direct sown plants.
    Observations and measurements would be made throughout the process; how long to germination, what percentage of seeds germinated in each case, growth measured on a weekly basis for each plant from germination to the time of transplant - benchmark date -measurements continue on a weekly basis; note date of first flower for each plant; subjective estimate of relative number of flowers (probably not practical to actually count them all); note date of first fruit set; track rate of fruit loss; observe continuously for any signs of pest or disease and note any relative differences; when harvesting, count each fruit from each plant, weigh each fruit.

    At the end of the trial, you should have clear records of how each plant grew, how productive and how healthy they were, how long they took to produce, etc.
    And then you do a chart with the results for all the transplants on one line and the results for all the direct sown plants on another line.

    And if those results come back telling you that transplants outperform direct sown plants, then you revisit your hypothesis and consider whether there might be another factor that could explain the observed better performance of volunteers, and you review your experiment design to determine whether or not there was a flaw in the experiment. If you determine that the experiment had an inherent flaw - the greenhouse plants all got mycorrhizal fungi because the potting mix was treated, for an example, then you try the experiment again, but this time you plant both sets of seed in the same soil from the garden bed, but some are put in pots in the greenhouse to start.

    In the event that the experiment appears to have been sound, then you consider another hypothesis - perhaps volunteers are only those plants with a natural adaptive advantage in this specific environment. Back to the drawing board and design an experiment to test that hypothesis.
     
    paul wheaton
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    Let us suppose that soil is basically cement/dirt.

    So, a person can dig a hole in the dirt and put a transplant in (complete with a bunch of potting soil and fertilizer that was in the transplant's pot) and a person can etch a spot into the dirt for a seed. So the transplant has fertilizer and soil - but the seed does not. This is an unfair test.

    Now, lets suppose that we have deep, rich soil. And let's suppose that when the seed is planted into the pot indoors, we start doing stuff with the direct-seed spot outdoors. Possibly a cloche. Maybe something bigger. Maybe there are a bunch of peas growing inside the bigger-than-cloche thing. And then four weeks before the last frost, we take out the peas and put in two tomato seeds (in case one doesn't make it).


    We currently have hundreds of recipes for transplants. Some use plastic trays, some use plastic cups, some use soil blocks .... sometimes people transplant twice, sometimes people trench the transplant .... some people use a warming seed starting pad, some people use styrofoam .... some people use garden soil and some use peat moss .... some will use grow lights and some will construct a greenhouse .... Maybe there are even THOUSANDS of recipes.

    I want to see THOUSANDS of recipes for direct seeding. Some people use a cloche, some people use a sort of cold frame. Some people mulch early and some mulch late. Some people use wall-waters and some use a double cloche. Some people start eight weeks before the last frost date and some people do nothing until the last frost date. Some people irrigate and some don't.

    But in order for there to be THOUSANDS of recipes for direct-seeding tomatoes, there needs to be at least one. And it needs to be well documented.

    People will use heat mats and artificial lights and expensive greenhouses to start seeds indoors. Well, maybe some people will choose to do something similar with soil heaters: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B007SJDGZC/rs12-20

    Some people put a LOT of money and work into the transplanting path. Some put hardly any in. I would like to see at least DOZENS of recipes for getting direct seeding tomatoes to work, just like there are THOUSANDS of recipes for transplanting.

    I think it is possible that somebody could say "today I put the seed into the indoor environment for transplanting, and within the hour I also put the seed into the outdoor soil." If you are going to add a whole bunch of artificial stuff to the indoor stuff - why not put at least that amount into the outdoor stuff?

     
    Sue Rine
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    Paul, I'm intrigued to know why you're so keen on direct seeding rather than transplants?
     
    paul wheaton
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    Sue Rine wrote:Paul, I'm intrigued to know why you're so keen on direct seeding rather than transplants?


    1 - I think that in good soils it is a more productive process.

    2 - I think that this leads to being more accepting of volunteers

     
    gardener
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    Not a controlled experiment but this year I removed all the deep litter from my chicken coop and placed it in a bed that I intended to keep fallow. It ended up being my most prolofic tomato bed from the volunteer seeds that escaped the chickens.
     
    Sue Rine
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    Thanks Paul. The recent discussion makes what you're trying to achieve clearer.

    It's Spring here in NZ. I already have some tomato plants in the ground but we've had a cool and stormy Spring so I'm thinking I'll give this a go just to see what happens. Normally tomatoes don't do well outdoors but last year there were volunteers on the sunny side of my moderately sized hugels and they grew and ripened and didn't get blight, all with almost no attention from me. We've had volunteers before but they have always got blight just as the fruit are about to ripen and the plants are totally demolished within a week...no fruit.
    The previous year I harvested the volunteers from the humanure compost bed green, as soon as I saw the first signs of blight. That worked ok too...lots of green tomato jam, chutney, cake...
     
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    paul wheaton wrote:If you are going to add a whole bunch of artificial stuff to the indoor stuff - why not put at least that amount into the outdoor stuff?


    because we have won nothing that way. Especially if you raise your small amount of transplants in or very near the house, starting those direct seeds with the same amount of work/investment further away would be no benefit.

    Still - simple, proven methods, for direct starting of tomatoe seeds, would be great.
    (will start my own experiments in the coming year.)

    --- Ludger
     
    pollinator
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    D. Logan wrote:A follow-up thought occurred to me. Maybe the results of this test /do/ confirm something of high value. When this all began, it was based on observations of volunteer plants in comparison to transplanted ones. What we have done is not actually the same as a volunteer. Not precisely anyway. We took individual seeds and planted them outside. In some cases, we gave them advantages to get them warmed up a little quicker, but that was about it. A lone seed or two is far different from an entire tomato that rotted away over the winter. I've noticed that most of the time, only two or three of those volunteers sprout in a single spot. There might be as many as fifty seeds there, but only two or three come up where the tomato was. I'd almost bet they happened to be the ones most suited to handle earlier cold and that having the rotted tomato there (or in some cases sitting in a giant pile of compost) is what got them the head start they needed to hold their own against the transplants. Compost especially is well known for being warm.


    ^^^yeah this is what i have been thinking.
    leaving a bunch of rotten/not finished tomatoes in the garden and getting random volunteers is much different than direct seeding tomatoes. especially since tomato seeds like fermentation and a bit of funk to get them going.

    for me direct seeded tomatoes dont do all that well, but with many/most other plants i grow, direct seeding is preferable.

    but volunteers is a whole different story. and may be the easiest method by far, you literally do nothing and dont clean up the previous years tomatoes.
    i just did this with the tomatoes i have been growing, in hopes that i will get volunteers next year.
    although actually i am planning to throw down a thin layer of straw mulch on top of the mess of the last of the tomatoes, some branches and stems left, most taken out and piled elsewhere. i do think i should get tons of volunteers from this....

    the plants that come from that are some of the hardiest. but it is hundreds + seeds, with only a few that actually make it, as opposed to growing transplants in a protected environment. starting transplants inside and keeping them warm earlier would take only a small bit of seed and produce more plants. having that warm protected environment makes them get ahead of direct seeded stuff, but not ahead of the truly volunteer stuff.
     
    leila hamaya
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    it would be interesting though, to find out that the best method
    ( = most yield, easiest to grow, hardiest biggest plants)
    for growing tomatoes was to pick out a good tomato, throw it on the ground and stomp on it ! =) ooo and then pee on it of course =)

    the timing would be important, and variable in different climates, but in the freezing winter the seed should just wait dormant....
     
    D. Logan
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    In Ohio, it's almost time to begin planting seeds indoors for transplant later down the road. I am quickly preparing things and putting my plans into motion for this years extension of the contest. I'm planning on doing several experimental methods and one control group. Each grouping will have two plants and be spaced in a way that odd factors like lighting or watering quirks shouldn't skew the results. I'm setting out a very clear methodology to ensure that any results I get are as accurate as possible and that I can prove out several ideas I have regarding what makes the difference. Part of that has been going over everything I know about volunteer plants and examining where the common threads lay.

    I'd almost like to see a new thread for this year, but regardless, how is everyone else who is trying for this year's contest doing? Worked out your methods and ideas yet?
     
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    I won't be participating in this one myself but am watching with a lot of interest! This year is going to be the first year of real gardening at this house/property, and I may not get my beds put in on time so I'm not going to add the stresses of trying to do this for 2015 but definitely for next year.

    I will say, though, that I think we need to have some kind of predetermined criteria, either agreed upon by all participants or even just decided on by Paul. Plant size, poundage, etc. I love Paul's idea for "recipes" of how to direct seed - it brings up a great point because he's right, there's bazillions of different methods and ways to start seed indoors but not much variation in how people are taught to direct sow, especially plants like tomatoes that most people just use transplants.

    I almost want to, separately from this contest, just spend a year and do comparisons of different ways to direct seed. Interesting to me that no one has brought up wintersowing yet - that seems to me like it might be one of the big reasons for success with volunteer tomatoes, that they are usually there from a previous season. The only other variable I can think of is that there is usually some kind of organic material accompanying the seeds that sprout into volunteers, whether it be manure, rotten tomato flesh, or whatever.

    I had some volunteers last spring right in front of the house where I dumped the dish water during the winter - the area was hard baked subsoil from the excavation we did, but they survived in the drainage trench my ex had dug to divert runoff. Horrible growing conditions (I ended up having them bulldozed when we did grading), and I was quite impressed they survived. One had even been nibbled down to a nub by the deer and it re-grew before we graded the area.

    I really do think there's some value in exploring this, because those suckers were HARDY but so many garden plants, especially store bought ones, need coddling or we THINK they need to be coddled. I'm a big fan of the idea of growing food with less coddling.

    Anyway - I am intrigued by the idea of comparing transplants but also direct seeding via wintersowing, using cloches, the nitrogen fixers, seed balls, planting in holes of compost, etc. I may do that kind of experiment next year when I'm more established with my garden.
     
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    So, just to clarify. Is this contest back on? is the $1000 Peaceful Valley gift certificate still in play? If so, when does the contest conclude? I was bummed to have missed the opportunity last year. Would be nice maybe to re-promote this on the daily-ish if it's still going on this year.
     
    D. Logan
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    paul wheaton wrote:...I've decided to say that there were no valid entries for 2014, and roll the contest over to next year.

    And for next year, I will edit the first post to insist that entries must include a side-by-side picture or video.

    I have now put a note in my calendar to start this contest again on January 1.


    Here's the information about the reset of the contest.
     
    paul wheaton
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    Cory Collins wrote:So, just to clarify. Is this contest back on? is the $1000 Peaceful Valley gift certificate still in play?


    I had worked a deal with Peaceful Valley so that I paid $500 and gave them gobs and gobs of promotion and they would provide the $1000 gift certificate. I tried contacting them about a half dozen times and got no response. Then cassie tried a bunch of things, including trying a lot of different email addresses for them. We finally got a human being. And that seems to be going nowhere.

    At the same time, I am spreading myself too thin on too many projects. So maybe we will try again in 2016.


     
    Deb Rebel
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    For a true vigorous volunteer that is not crossbred, to give up healthy seeds, I'd put up $100 if I could have 30-50 seeds from the winner. Or if it's not a true volunteer, same thing. I'm willing to put up a money order made out to the winner and send a SASB to collect seeds. I can't afford $1000 but I could put $100 out my pocket for good seeds from a good plant! Maybe if a few others are willing to do the same we can still fund the contest, Paul.

    Deb

    Hot climate survivor would be preferable but. Healthy and bigger than a cherry tomato! Hugelkulture babies would be nice too!
     
    D. Logan
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    I've already picked up some of the things for this experiment this year, so I am probably going to go ahead and act as if the contest was still on. At worst, I have some tomatoes to enjoy. At best, it gives me the chance to work with two years of data and potentially refine a process. Honestly, I've already put a ton of thought into this and don't want to lose my momentum. Even if there never ends up being a prize, I still want to move on the ideas I have and try innovating.

    Deb Rebel wrote:For a true vigorous volunteer that is not crossbred, to give up healthy seeds, I'd put up $100 if I could have 30-50 seeds from the winner. Or if it's not a true volunteer, same thing. I'm willing to put up a money order made out to the winner and send a SASB to collect seeds. I can't afford $1000 but I could put $100 out my pocket for good seeds from a good plant! Maybe if a few others are willing to do the same we can still fund the contest, Paul.

    Deb

    Hot climate survivor would be preferable but. Healthy and bigger than a cherry tomato! Hugelkulture babies would be nice too!


    That's very generous and actually a pretty smart idea. I think having a lot of people contribute a little might be worth more than one person contributing a lot. With that said, I don't know that the seeds themselves will be what makes or breaks this. In a meaningful test, all of the seeds will be from the same breed and it is the technique rather than the genetics that are going to determine success. Don't get me wrong, I'd be more than happy to share some of the seeds from the winning plant, but since several varieties will be growing within the area, they would likely not be true to the parent plant. I am sure anyone else participating would be just as open to sending seeds from the winner if it was their own plant.
     
    Deb Rebel
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    D. Logan, I have raised 'competition' tomatoes with pedigrees from bagging blooms and hand pollenating.

    It is true the plant may not throw the genes into the offspring, but to collect suckers and start those or airlayer the plant that does the best is beyond some of the best growers. I have done both plus graft.

    I would love a good tomato strain that bred out true, and did survive without the usual intensive work I need to put in (controlling growing conditions) To get a good yield here. One year I planted over 70 varieties from tiniest currant (Coyote, a Mexican wild) to the largest (Big Zac, Delicious, Brandywine) to try to find something that might do good here.

    Less work and better standing my hot dry climate, I would gladly pay for. Run your tests D. Logan and see if Paul agrees I should send you $100 and a SASB.
     
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