Early tomatoes

2ajsmamaMarch 17, 2013

I got some Cosmonaut Volkov seed, picked up something Burpee calls Independence Day "cocktail" tomatoes that are supposed to be 49 days. Anybody ever try them? Not that the seed was that expensive, I just don't want to waste the time/space starting and hardening them off and then the space transplanting them if they're spitters or poor producers.

Glacier and (Burpee's) Bloody Butcher weren't early last year, and didn't sell any better than the bigger heirlooms so I am looking for truly early varieties this year.

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There was a good post recently about early Tomatoes on the Tomato forum.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 1:22PM
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From what we were taught last year about tomatoes, there are actually only 3 types per time of tomatoes. Early, mid and late. It all depends on how many degree days you have. Tomatoes don't count any days that are below 50 or about 90. So all those hot days we have last year didn't count, and if you have lots of low temps then they don't count either.

Of course, as far as I know, nobody has an inner connection with future weather. Sure wish someone did.

I've found that it doesn't matter what the days are on the package, they will fruit whenever THEY want.

Sorry, I have tried the varieties that you mentioned. I have tried Glacier before that wasn't impressed.

Even Early Girl that is supposed to be early, but the only thing I've noticed is the smaller the fruit the earlier you'll get ripe fruit.

sorry, over the years and the many varieties that I've tried, I've not found a 'good' 'early' 'tasty' tomato.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 1:28PM
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Marla - how was Cosmonaut? Just started a dozen, didn't know if I should start more since they're indet., and if I was going to get any other "earlies" (I know, a difference of 5 days is not a big difference, but these are 12-20 days earlier than my heirlooms, and the "cocktail" tomatoes are 16 days earlier than that, so was thinking they were worth trying, if they were 2 weeks earlier, whenever that ends up being).

Below freezing here, but they say it's going to be an early warm summer (let's hope not as warm/dry as last year).

Peppers are looking nice - I've even got some true leaves starting to poke up between the cotyledons.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 1:42PM
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Sorry, I've only tried the Glacier. To my thinking 'cocktail' might be the size of large Red Cherries. that size doesn't sell here.

My peppers are doing better than the tomatoes, and that's unusual. I transplant before the true leaves start on both peppers, eggplant or tomatoes.

I've found that the early varieties don't come on any earlier than the mid-season ones. I try to stay with mid-season. They are basically the size that most of my customers have wanted. Too small - no sales, too big- too expensive per tomato. Got to hit that happy medium, about a full-hand size works best for me.

As far as starting more, I usually just start 1 time, but hold the plants longer before I transplant for the later plantings. Also I let them get dry enough to just start a bit of wilting, then water. It holds them smaller for alittle while.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 2:53PM
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Do you mean you transplant, or you pot up before true leaves?

Ah (shrug), I started 12 of the cocktails anyway, and 12 cells of Super Sweet 100s but those seeds are so tiny I can't just get 1 per cell so there are lots of those. If I can pick them out like last year I'll have plenty - my dad will want some, and I can sell some to neighbors (new market starts way too late to sell veggie starts).

I also didn't want to do more than 2 flats of tomatoes (144 cells) so I put multiples in of the big heirlooms, everything in the 2nd flat. I'll have to pot those up earlier than the paste tomatoes (24), Rutgers (12) and non-cherries in the first flat.

Last year I started about 500 tomatoes and didn't have room for all the 4" pots, didn't have room to plant more than 150 or so, had trouble selling (even with market starting June 1 and another farmer buying some from me), ended up giving a lot away.

I'm not sure I even want to start the Mark Twain seed I bought - maybe a 6-pack? It's even later than Brandywines and this market ends earlier than my old one.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 3:18PM
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I uppot them before true leaves, if the plants look really healthy.

Sweet 100s are great, only problems that I had with them is TOO many, and they will split easily if it's dry then big rain. Great taste, I've had people ask for them years later.

It's so hard to get the veggies to come in during certain times such as market days.

I'm giving up on the contract growing, this year has just NOT worked.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 4:35PM
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I thought you meant pot, not transplant! I was thinking whoa, your greenhouse must be warm/great soil if you're transplanting that early!

I am waiting til most of them have true leaves to take them out of flat (2 per cell) and pot into larger 6-packs. I'd love to go right to 4" pots but I haven't got the potting soil yet (on order, they said they were getting ProMix this year but if I have to I'll do Fafard again), and I don't have the room for nearly 100 pepper plants plus the 2 flats of tomatoes plus the 6 overwintered pepper plants in 1-2 gal pots.

I did buy 2 more of those mini greenhouses with shelves, and more lights, but I'm trying to keep it to one 4-shelf unit for the next month if I can, then maybe I can get my parents to put the overwintered peppers (I'll pot them up bigger too) in their sunroom so I have room in my family room for 1-2 more shelving units.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 5:06PM
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Tomatoes like to up potted, I wouldn't recommend going from little plants directly into 4" pots.

I buy the 4' shelves that have 6 shelves. I've got one of the mini greenhouses but don't use it.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 5:59PM
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No, I'm talking about the peppers. They don't like being handled as much, but I'm going to have to do 1 per 2" cell, I've got (mostly) 2 per 2" cell right now since I have pretty good germination. I'll pot the tomatoes up in a month (probably do the peppers again then too).

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 7:22PM
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Peppers too. I treat them the same, it just takes peppers longer to get to the up potting stage.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 8:32PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

See link

Here is a link that might be useful: tatiana's tomato base

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 10:50AM
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I grow in Western Oregon (cool days, cool nights) Cosmonaut is not especially early for me, but it's got great flavor. Moskovich is earlier, ok flavor. And Beaverlodge is the earliest, but very small percentage of marketable tomatoes and flavor was only decent compared to store bought tomatoes.

Here is a link that might be useful: BeaverLodge tomatoes, May 2010

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 11:34AM
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