Heirloom tomato plants in garden centers?

gardenscout(z6 NE RI)April 14, 2012

Seems like every year there is a thread posted with this exact title.

I always have been successful starting plants from seeds indoors under lights, but this year they are just growing so slowly and I don't think they will be ready for plant-out time. Some still only have their cot leaves and a few have just now put on their first set of true leaves. They were sown in the last week of March as always, but something is wrong this year.

So for the first time ever, I am on a mission to find some plants at the local garden centers. Any recommendations of where I can look? I am in northern RI but I would be happy to take a road trip if needed. I have seen a few heirlooms at the big box stores, but not many varieties.

I guess I can't be too choosy, but I thought maybe some of you have seen them around this year. Thanks if you can help.

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ctlady_gw(z6 CT)

Not terribly helpful as we're in northwest CT... but as one idea: our local health food store carries some heirlooms. You might try a health food market.

If that fails, another option (though it would be quite a road trip for you!) is White Flower Farm in Litchfield, which is having "The Great Tomato Celebration" the weekend of May 18-20 (I think this is what has been "Tomatomaia" in the past), plus they have something listed that they call "The Great Tomato Celebration Boston Style" (no idea what that is) on their website as well. They do indeed have hundreds of varieties -- I've gone for many years (but then, they are only 20 minutes from me... :) Also, you can order from them online. Much cheaper (and more fun) to go to the farm in Litchfield, but mail order is another option.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tomato event at WFF

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 10:22AM
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We have some small local growers in our area who don't have to do much advertising. One places a single ad in the NH Weekly Farmers Bulletin and only sells by pre-order with pickup on a specified weekend in May. (her neighbors complain about the traffic)
You might get lucky if you check Craigslist for RI. I would skip the big box stores and try a farm and feed store like Agway. You might also see plants at a local farmers market so check your state dept of agriculture listing for markets. The really good markets have their own website and list their vendors. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 2:20PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b


That White Flower Farm Tomatomia comes to Mass Hort on May 20th. WFF will have over 100 varieties of tomato plants from which to choose. Link below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Gardeners Fair at Elm Bank

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 5:55PM
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gardenscout(z6 NE RI)

Thanks to each of you for these leads. I just re-rigged my seedling and light setup -- moved them to a bedroom instead of down in the basement. My theory is that the warmer room temps will make them grow faster.

Wish me luck.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 7:21PM
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ontheteam(5a-6 (S.Eastern, MA))

garden scout: I do a plant sale for Children;s hospital in Boston at the avon MA costco each Fri Sat Sun in may I am going to have some heirloom toms:
buckbeeks new 50
cherokee purple
and some I forget... but you are welcome to come on by

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 3:43PM
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ron48(z6 Mass. Essex)

I stumbled across this tomato taste trials the other night,
I'm fortunate I have several of them growing for this year.




    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 12:33PM
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Hope your re-rig in warmer temps worked out for you. In the future you could check our plants out - we're located in Union, CT - it's not exactly close by, but not too far and a nice drive from RI. I've linked our site below - the list of plants we offered this past Spring is still there and will be until our Spring 2013 update gets posted.

Here is a link that might be useful: RocK Meadow Farm

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 9:23AM
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Hope your re-rig in warmer temps worked out for you.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 9:25AM
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