Cheap heirloom tomato plant websites?

addictedtoroses(z6TX)July 22, 2005

I really want to try some of those really delicious looking tomatoes like Black Krim, etc., but the only things I can get to grow from seeds are the really easy things (squash, cucumbers, peas, melons...hollyhocks! LOL!)

I just prefer to buy my tomato plants, but I really can't afford some of the prices! Have you seen Burpee's plant prices?!?

Are there any websites for heirloom tomato and pepper plants that aren't too expensive?


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mrsgeekboy(z6 SWOH)

I keep seeing your post and wondering what your idea of cheap is. I finally decided I would just ask!

So? :)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 6:57PM
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Well, the garden centers have their tomato plants for .99 for 6 plants, but I figure double that because they would be better varieties? (All the garden centers have are Roma, Better Boy, Sweet Million and Mr. Stripey, plus maybe one or two more different kinds.)
So, I would say $2.00-$2.50 for a 6-pack, plus shipping? Or if it HAD to be per plant, MAYBE $1 per plant with a minimum order of, say, 5 or 6 plants, but that would HAVE to include shipping.
Any such sites out there?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 12:39PM
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Hand pollinated heirloom tomato seed can be very expensive, especially for certain varieties. It takes 6-10 weeks of sowing, transplanting, feeding, watering, plus the investment in pots, potting mix and fertilizer. If you add the cost of shipping (and handling--it takes time to process orders and box up plants) to the afore-mentioned expenses, I doubt any tomato grower would realize ANY profit.

Growers, like everyone else, need to make a living. I don't mean this to sound harsh, just realistic.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2005 at 3:17AM
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bruggirl100(z9 FL)

Try the heirloom vegetable exchange here on GW. There are always people there willing to help out a newbie.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 4:52PM
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Tyrell(Zone 9, CA)

I really want to try some of those really delicious looking tomatoes like Black Krim, etc., but the only things I can get to grow from seeds are the really easy things

Dear ATR,

I wonder why you have trouble raising tomatoes from seeds? True, the things you list having sucess with all have larger seeds, but I've had no problems with tomatoes or anything else. Even my first year, when I was the Sergeant Shultz of Gardening, (I knew nothdingk. NOTHDINGK.) and had horrible clay soil, I was able to get the seeds to sprout.
I use those mini-greenouses with the plastic covers, but any pot or even cutoff plastic bottles will serve. Just put a piece of saran wrap over the top, but only till the seeds have sprouted. If you don't take them off quickly after that, the seedlings will get fungus.
I built some wooden shelves that I attach to an east-facing window, so I use only free sunlight to warm the seeds, not electric lights. If you plan to garden many more years, don't you think it would be worth it to master this skill? Not only is it cheaper, but you get a much larger selection of varieties.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 8:51AM
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PurpleRainbow(z8 NW WA)

Just found this forum and interrupt my reading to comment here.

I have started tomato plants from seeds a number of times and find my home started ones are more likely to make it through the summer with no problems, in fact I've never had one succumb to anything except over watering and that was stupidity on my part. When the seeds are sprouting, I cover them with plastic (usually recycling a bag from the store) and set them on the fridge. At that point they don't need light and they stay warm up there. Soon as possible I start moving them outside during the day, by the time they're ready for planting they've already been living outside and have been potted up a couple times. If I can grow tomatoes from seed, anyone can! Please, don't give up, try again.

This year I bought my black krim from the store but my heirloom German green and green grape tomatoes started life in my kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 10:54PM
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treefrog_fl(z10 FL)

Have you checked over at the Growing Tomatoes forum?
There are lots of folks from Texas there.
Maybe one lives nearby.

I know if they're anything like me, they'll start many more seedlings than they can use!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 2:54PM
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eileen_shorty2002(7 sw NJ)

check on the heirloom website on gardenweb, also don't know about plants but has very good prices & quanities on their heirloom seeds. hope this helps

    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 4:00PM
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One thing you can do to stretch your plant budget is to buy the minimum of your favorite heirloom tomato plants, and root the suckers to make a large, but slightly later crop.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 9:26AM
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suzieh(z9 Altadena CA)

I belong to tomatomania (a Yahoo group). They have a seed bank. They ask that you donate into it (doesn't have to be tomatoes) to keep the seed bank going.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 11:43PM
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maryinpnw(z8 OR)

Definitely come over to the tomato forum. There ares some dedicated tomato growers from Texas who post there. Perhaps they could direct you to some good places to get heirloom starts.

I too had some trouble starting tomato seeds. But practice makes perfect. I hope you don't give up on trying to start from seed. Some of the most delicious ones you can only try if you get the right seed or know someone who has access to the seed.

You might go to the library and check out Dr. Carolyn J. Male's book, "100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden." She will give you some excellent information on tomato growing and even suggestions on what might grow well for you, based on her correspondence with growers in the south and southwest.

I was in your shoes back in 1996, but now I grow heirloom tomatoes every year.

Very best wishes,

Mary in Oregon

    Bookmark   October 20, 2005 at 6:38PM
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seneca_s(6-7 Idaho)

Why don't you try wintersowing them? Doesn't get any easier.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 8:16PM
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I was going to say winter sowing, but Seneca beat me to it. Thank you Seneca! There's an offer for a tomato SASE on the WinterSown.Org website.

Here is a link that might be useful: WinterSown.Org

    Bookmark   January 28, 2006 at 8:04AM
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i totally agree!! winter sow them!! they will grow, this was my first year to winter sow and i'v gotten things to grow that befor just die on me, like hollyhocks, i know, go ahead, laugh, :')) but really, for some reason they do, but this year they are up, and i believe foxgloves, and some other things, i planted TONS of stuff after reading Trudi's page unrelated to GW and i'm soooo telling ya, that's the way to go!! all of my other tomato's have come up so far. (usually they don't all come up, and if they do, they die) ummm another one is snapdragons, they do the 1-2-3 croak and hold up the flag while waving it. but not this time!! I'm a proud mommy of hundreds of plants, and i've even gotten my kiddo's into it!! :'))

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 7:58PM
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i haven't found anything that inexpensive on the net, but i did find a nursery in our area that has TONS of heirlooms for $2.49 a 6-pack. (Merles in Seward, NE for those of you in my area.)

perhaps you could call around and see if there are any nurseries in your area that might have similar bargains.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 3:24PM
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I ordered heirloom tomatoes from them at .55 each. I have not gotten them yet. You have to order a total of 72 plants, but they have tons to choose from and a lot of heirloom plants.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 10:45AM
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jessicavanderhoff(7 Md)

I'm a novice gardener, but I've had really good luck with seeds from Seeds0 and grocoseeds, on ebay. They aren't too expensive for me, and my germination rates have been very high. (I soak jiffy pellets in warm water, stick a few seeds in each one, put in a dixie bathroom cup, cover with plastic wrap, and put on top of a baseboard heater on the lowest setting).

Here is a link that might be useful: groco ebay store

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 12:29PM
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I'd suggest going to the yahoo forum site. Also consider contacting a local gardening club.

Check out the heirloom page. Then, simply offer to mail self-addressed stamped envelope to folks. I bet there are lots of folks that wouldn't mind sharing seeds.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 4:01PM
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