Direct seeding tomato plants
I live a little North of Pittsburgh and we can have frost here in mid May so most people start their seeds off indoors or buy transplants at a nursery.
I like to grow my own plants from seed so I start them off under shop lights in my basement. I have no option of using a window sill.
No matter how hard I try the transplants I grow under the shop lights are not very hardy. And even though I try to harden them off they still look shocked and pale for a week of two when I put them outside....and some die.
Last year I do not know what happened if it was the tomato blight or just mildew or mold but I had a lot of my tomato transplants die that I grew under shop lights.
Since I grow tomatoes every year and I have too many animals around here that spread the seed from them I get tomato plants that come up on their own every year.
I usually find some in the flower bed or growing by my sidewalk. I usually take them and plant them somewhere where they will have a shot of doing well.
But what I noticed about these tomatoes that come up on their own is that they are so much healthier than my shop light grown transplants.
After last years problem of having so many of my transplants die I just planted a few seeds of each variety directly in the soil and then as they got a little bigger I moved them to where I wanted them.
Doing it this way the plants looked so much healthier and had no transplant shock or death but I started way too late.
For this year I was thinking of trying to direct seed some tomatoes in an area right against the house so it would be sort of protected and plant them earlier in the year. Then as they get big move them to the places that I want them.
The ones I grew last year this way worked out fine. The only problem is since I started them so late they produced fruit so much later.
I just wanted to see if anyone in the cooler climates direct seeded tomatoes and if it worked out ok for them?