The Great Tomato Race!

Sancho_Panza_OK(7)April 1, 2013

This is my first year starting my own tomatoes indoors from seed instead of just buying whatever might be available here in Stillwater when it's time to plant. One thing that surprises me is the different rates the varieties grow at - somehow I assumed they'd all grow at about the same speed since they're all together in the same conditions, but no. Is this pretty normal?

And FYI, right now in the Great Tomato Race, the Sun Golds and the Siberians (thank you to everyone here who recommended them!) are leading the pack by far.

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I think it is pretty normal. My largest right now is Greek Rose followed by JD' s Special C Tex, Gary'O Sena, and Indian Stripe. I am not growing SunGold this year but in the past it has been extremely vigorous.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:58AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I think it is perfectly normal to see natural variations in the way seeds sprout and grow. In order for them to all sprout and grow just alike, they'd all have to be clones of one another, and they aren't.

SunGold is always a vigorous grower for me, but I have grown some varieties that make it look a little slow. JD's Special C-Tex is one of them. This variety wants to grow and it wants to grow big time.Gary O Sena is the same way. In the hybrid tomato world, you often see the difference conferred on plants by hybrid vigor. Celebrity, for example, just sprouts and runs like the wind in its effort to grow fast and get big. Some open-pollinated varieties grow just as vigorously even though they lack the so-called hybrid vigor. Big Beef is another variety that sprouts fast and grows fast. Once the tomato plants all are in the ground, it is amazing how their growth seems to even out over the next few weeks. By early June, if I just stand in the garden and look at the rows of tomato plants, it is hard to remember which ones were the biggest and healthiest when I put them into the is like the slower ones have caught up and I never really think about it until I realize that it already has happened.

I'm glad you're having such good success with your tomato seedlings, Sancho Panza. Once you learn to grow your own, you can try so many different kinds and are not constrained to growing only those which are readily available commercially. It opens up a whole new world to you in terms of tomato flavors, colors, shapes, sizes, etc.

When I was a kid and we bought our tomato plants from the Greek family that ran a truck farm on the banks of a river near us, they had any variety of tomato plant you wanted as long as it produced fruit that was was round and red. Well, there was pink too....Porter. It wasn't until the mid-1990s and I had started growing from seed that I found out tomatoes came in all sorts of shapes, colors and sizes, including black, purple, pink, orange, yellow,white, bi-color, tri-color and even green-when-ripe. You can grow tomatoes that are striped, splotched, speckled...that look tie-dyed. Once you are raising your own from seed, the diversity available is incredible.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 4:59PM
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My suprise for this year is how stocky my plants have remained. I have a poor set-up this year with no protected area outside to place my plants, so nearly all the time from 2-19 they have been under the lights. I only have 2 shelves and the lights are hanging at an angle to try to accomadate the differance in the heights of the different plants, but some have to go, they are about to grow into the lights.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:09PM
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