What is your fastest time seed to harvest ?

readheads(6)February 26, 2010

I'd like to start a discussion around the following question:

What is your fastest time in days from seed to first ripe tomato and your theory as to why ?

Yeah I realize it's dependent on variety, enviro, and 65 other factors but the discussion may help us learn from each other.

My answer: 150 Days, Aurora, Raising early and planting in 24 inch deep fluffy loam

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duajones(z9 TX)

I will have to check my notes when I get home to be sure, but I believe my fastest was around 105 days. I believe the variety was Monomakh's Hat. Putting 6 week old transplants in the ground early was the reason I guess, that and soil and air temps were cooperative

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 4:29PM
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wordwiz

I'll let you know in a couple of weeks! I didn't note the day I sowed them but I'm guessing the middle of December. They were transplanted to 3" containers on Christmas and into 7-gallon pots on January 18. They now have ~.5" tomatoes on them. One is a Celebrity, the other a Better Boy.

Mike

I do not endorse any link or site added to my post my the new, worthless gimmick this site employs.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 4:41PM
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vikingkirken(6b)

Mike,

I have to agree with your last remark... what a dumb advertising gimmick! Their ads aren't even on-topic! (I wonder which word they're going to highlight in this?)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 4:46PM
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duajones(z9 TX)

Change mine to 112 days, sowed seed January 6th,2008. Planted out February 24th. First ripe fruit April 27th

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 4:54PM
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readheads(6)

Hey Texas (Duajones) I'm impressed. Here in Northern NJ it doesn't happen that fast.

Hey wordwiz, where are you located ? You seem to be on a similar track as duajones.

I'm thinking that if the things we can control (soil, good transplants, loving care, etc) are about equal, then the great discriminator is Mother Nature. Kinda of a duuhhh moment for me.

Duajones can you describe the weather in general terms from in the ground to harvest ?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 5:37PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I can't answer your question as I have never tracked any variety from seed plant to harvest nor seen any reason to. Transplant to harvest, yes - but otherwise no.

But maybe I'm missing something so I hope you don't mind a few questions. I'm curious as to how many experienced growers actually do track/chart this kind of info and if so, why?

Is it just curiosity or a competition of sorts? Is it data that is only applicable to the particular year or do you feel it provides you with real data that can be replicated year after year? Is it common to track many different varieties or only a few? How does it relate to - support or invalidate - the estimated DTM of various varieties? Do you use it to make choices on varieties to grow? To alter growing conditions? To determine planting dates or alter planting methods? How do you control for all the other variables involved?

Thanks.

Dave

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 7:14PM
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mtbigfish(5b)

Mike
What am I missing about links being added?
Dennis

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 8:24PM
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readheads(6)

Dave (Digdirt), some answers

But maybe I'm missing something so I hope you don't mind a few questions. I'm curious as to how many experienced growers actually do track/chart this kind of info and if so, why?

--The general answer is that due to a normal 3 month harvest POP (July, Aug, Sept) in NJ and a general lack of "full" sun, the planting of 2-3 foot transplants full of flowers and small tomatoes on April 15th Âish gives a decent yield in June. However, it take a "bunch" of work planting seeds on New Years and dealing with "big" plants and then of course keeping the weather at bay during April & May. The growers North of NJ experience an even shorter POP especially in Canada.

Is it just curiosity or a competition of sorts?

--Curiosity

Is it data that is only applicable to the particular year or do you feel it provides you with real data that can be replicated year after year?

--Rule of thumb only

Is it common to track many different varieties or only a few?

--IÂd say average only unless someoneÂs got some "really" interesting

How does it relate to - support or invalidate - the estimated DTM of various varieties?

--The estimated DTM is for a transplant which is probably sitting around for a month, so how does the month get accounted for.

Do you use it to make choices on varieties to grow?

--Yeah probably, as long as they taste good

To alter growing conditions?
--Heat maybe, Zero pot-ups (plant seed in the final container), early fertigating (Timmy1)

To determine planting dates or alter planting methods?
--YES

How do you control for all the other variables involved?
--You control what you can and leave the rest to the big tomato in the sky

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 9:05PM
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baltais(z6 NJ)

Last year I sowed Bloody Butcher on March 29 and ate my first ripe tomato on June 21, so I guess it was about 85 days seed-to-harvest despite the nasty weather that we had in June.

I have always found transplant-to-harvest times confusing because I only grow my tomatos in pots and actually transplant them 3 times.

This year I started my earlies Mano, Aurora and Danko two weeks ago to see if I can get the first ripe tomato in early June.

Readheads, it is really impressive that you were able to have the first ripe ones at the end of May here in NJ. Almost looks like NJ is the best place to grow tomatos!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 10:36PM
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wordwiz

readheads,

I'm in Cincinnati. My plants are upstairs, under a 400 watt HPS light.

Dennis - this forum has decided to make money via adding pop-ups or links to sites based on a word in a post. Some people seem to be able to turn it off (so if your mouse cursor happens to pass over one of the hot spots it doesn't cause a pop-up but many of us don't seem able to do this).

Digdirt,

In my case, it is because I hope to sell tomatoes to businesses or at Markets the year round. For at least 1/4 of the year, it will mean growing under lights, which cost to run. The sooner I can get ripe fruits from plants, the more I will make.

Mike

I do not endorse any link or ad that appears in this message and find it reprehensible that things are added to my post that make it appear I do. A bad, bad way of trying to generate a buck or two by the owners of this site, IMO.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 11:52PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Last year I seeded on February 21st, planted out March 28th, Harvested first red tomato on May 28th. So probably a little over 90 days.

This was a Tomatoberry Cherry tomato. THey were grown in North Central Kansas in one of my high tunnels.

Jay

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 12:02AM
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elskunkito

I dunno about seed to harvest.

Earliest ripe fruit was in late May, Early June.
That was in The Great PNW, where late may, early June is typical plant out time.

My guess would be that those took 150 days under very suboptimal conditions.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 12:20AM
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instar8(Z 5 N.IN)

I'm sure someone has mentioned it already, but you can download Mozilla Firefox browser free, and it blocks all the ads at this site...it runs a LOT faster.

Here is a link that might be useful: mozilla firefox

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 3:30AM
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anney(Georgia 8)

If you already have Firefox and it doesn't block the ads for you, just go here and click on "Installation" at the top of the page, next to "Home".

Choose "Run" when asked, and the add-on will download and you're all set.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 4:50AM
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duajones(z9 TX)

I try and get my plants in early as the heat kicks in pretty fast down here. Typically, we can have daytime highs in the 90's even in February at times and the have lows in the 30's or 40's within the same week. Last year this past week we had some highs in the low 90's and lows in the high 30's. I usually have to protect the plants at least a couple of times. By Mid May and on the temps are pretty high with lows above 75 many nights. Short growing season really. followed by an inferno

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 10:15AM
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wordwiz

I have SeaMonkey and the plug-ins do not work.

Mike

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 10:52AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

--The general answer is that due to a normal 3 month harvest POP (July, Aug, Sept) in NJ and a general lack of "full" sun, the planting of 2-3 foot transplants full of flowers and small tomatoes on April 15th Âish gives a decent yield in June. However, it take a "bunch" of work planting seeds on New Years and dealing with "big" plants and then of course keeping the weather at bay during April & May. The growers North of NJ experience an even shorter POP especially in Canada.

Thanks for the info readheads and I agree that it sounds like a great deal of work!

Some of that work might be eliminated by using some of the easier and more common season-extending approaches that work for other NE growers. But I assume you have tried them? No way to increase the sun exposure?

New Jersey commercial growers, who produce much of the country's tomato crop each year, offer a great deal of research and guides on successful growing in your region if you are interested. Rutgers University is noted for its great tomato growing info, much of it applicable to many other parts of the country too.

But experimentation is always fun and interesting.

Dave

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 11:56AM
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mtbigfish(5b)

Mike
I turned it off when it first popped up
Dennis

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 6:39PM
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anthony_toronto

Dave, why is time from seeding to first harvest not relevant vs. time from transplant to first harvest? Will a younger 6-inch tall transplant yield it first fruit a the same time as an older 3-foot tall transplant?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 12:57AM
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ruet

Firefox with the free Adblock Plus plugin installed here.

I still don't know what ads y'all are talking about, but boy do they sound annoying!

Last year I started quite late for my area, around late April. Planted out in June-July, I think black cherry (my earliest) went about 120 days from seed to fruit. I did a bunch of other stuff wrong though, as it was my first year starting from seed.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 3:32AM
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bigdaddyj(Zone7)

From my Journal: 2002: Seed sown 1/31/02. First ripe...4/29/02. So 87 days.

It was Kotlas. Formerly called Sprint. Seeds from Johnny's. Never any lights. Started in sunny window. Transplanted to bigger and bigger containers. Container moved indoors and outdoors depending on weather. Container plants generally ripen quicker. Following year I started Kotlas mid March as normal here and planted in garden late April. Those took 105 days. Lesson learned....if you want super early tomatoes, containerize them!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 5:29PM
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erlyberd(Z5 CT)

Honestly thought there would be more replies to this thread. It's bragging rights for gosh sake!

That said, I'll let you know sometime in May-June I'm hoping! Seedlings are just over three week mark. Any predictions?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 6:41AM
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loagiehoagie(S.E. Michigan)

A few years ago I got my first tomatoes in about 80 days from seed to harvest. Planted seed (Silvery Fir Tree) on Feb.1 and harvested 3rd week in April. It was a warm spring and I have a greenhouse.....so I know that is cheating a bit! Our gardening section of the newspaper always has a contest (no prize...just bragging rights) and I placed 2nd from all of the submissions. I missed by 5 days if I recall. Since that worked so well I'm trying again this year. Silvery Fir Tree again...but I didn't start until Feb.6 so maybe early May this year? HOPE SO!

Duane

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 11:31AM
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earl(SW Ohio 5-6)

Duane,
Who in the world could convince you to grow a no-good-for-nothin'-tastin' tomato like Silvery Fir Tree? I'll bet it was Carolyn!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 6:41PM
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mdsimenc(Z5b Chicagoland)

From my garden journal I generally go from seed to "good eats" in about 85-95 days depending on tomato. My most interesting hardening off technique took place last year - On May 16th my neighbor's daughter plucked every tomato out of their Cowpot and put them in a bucket. Upon discovery they went into the ground and I just hoped that tough tomatoes would bear fruit - I had no idea what type was going to be on the vines until they produced - not a technique I recommend but I got good toms ' )

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 7:42PM
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eyesofthewolf(8b)

Redheads, do you mind me butting in on your thread, I have a question that is on topic. When you grow from seed and pot up during indoor keeping and plant deep up to the first set of leaves, does this delay harvest because the plant is making more roots? Thanks :o) Deanna

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 9:08PM
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readheads(6)

Deanna,

I think so. Looking at the wide disparity of "Days to Harvest" I also think there are some optimal methods of growing transplants. I was trying to get to some of that in this thread but it's tougher than I thought. It would take a group of pretty dedicated growers in a Web 2.0 Wiki kind of setup to do a study.

I thought I was doing really good at 150 days to harvest until I started this thread and have seen: 105, 112, 85, 90, 120, 87, 80, 85-95 days.

Anyway, I say that the optimal conditions for the fastest and best (for healthy harvest) have yet to be fully understood. Take for example "potting" up. I say disturbing the roots "at all" will affect the time to harvest but by how much I do not know.

Regards, Tom

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 11:00PM
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eyesofthewolf(8b)

Thanks Tom, I planted Feb 1st so we will see, hopefully I will remember to post here when I get my first tomato. I hope you have a great growing season. :o) Deanna

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 11:43PM
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Digitalcrypto

35-45 days standard here.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 9:56AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

"35-45 days standard here. " From seed????

100 days for me. Plant Stupice inside on Mar 15, and get tomato last week of June.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 10:51AM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

edweather, Digitalcrypto just jointed today so is either a troll or child. JMO

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 11:12PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Que: Why track data from germination to ripe fruit ?
Ans: For the same reason one tracks data from plant out to first ripe fruit(DTM).

Data collection is a fascinating thing. Why do they collect all kind of data on a baseball player, football player : Past performance is not a guarantee for future result. BUT there is always a close co-relation.

We can GUESSTIMATE from seed -to-ripe fruit using DTM numbers. ADD 6-8 WEEKS: Lets say that a variety has a DTM of 65: Add 7 weeks to it. You will arrive at ~~115 days. That should be fairly close. Even DTM is an average number. It may vary from place to place by as much as +/- 20%..
So all these sport numbers, gardening numbers are part of STATISTICS. Believe it or not it is a branch of MATHEMATICS = science.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 4:25PM
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barrie2m_

If that type (DTM) info is meaningful then one should definately keep those records. I keep a clipboard of seeding records to maximize on my growing methods. It really helps to look back and determine how to tweek the planting date on a particular variety in order to arrive at the size plant I want at a particular future date.
I just happen to note dates I'll pick my first tomatoes, almost always cherry varieties, but I expect those results and I am not willing to take the steps to change them.

Its my belief that one can pick a few (just a few) fruits earlier by severely limiting root growth. I've had plants in 6-packs that were never potted up (for plant sales) and they would seem to have ripe fruits (only few) weeks ahead of plants that were potted up. I wouldn't recommend this practice to achieve earlier harvest.

There are a few practices which I believe will help a transplant to bloom and produce earlier. Trenching plants (1/2 stem burried) which are a little larger seems to help them recover transplanting stress and they usually bloom sooner, possibly up to 2 weeks sooner than a plant that is planted a week earlier- so you might gain a week. Poor transplant handling or shocking of plants, especially if planting in too cool soil or subjecting to neer freezing temps will usually delay growth and blossoming by serious levels. Those growing plants in pots have that advantage of regulating the plant's environment a bit more.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 6:42PM
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barrie2m_

If that type (DTM) info is meaningful then one should definately keep those records. I keep a clipboard of seeding records to maximize on my growing methods. It really helps to look back and determine how to tweek the planting date on a particular variety in order to arrive at the size plant I want at a particular future date.
I just happen to note dates I'll pick my first tomatoes, almost always cherry varieties, but I expect those results and I am not willing to take the steps to change them.

Its my belief that one can pick a few (just a few) fruits earlier by severely limiting root growth. I've had plants in 6-packs that were never potted up (for plant sales) and they would seem to have ripe fruits (only few) weeks ahead of plants that were potted up. I wouldn't recommend this practice to achieve earlier harvest.

There are a few practices which I believe will help a transplant to bloom and produce earlier. Trenching plants (1/2 stem burried) which are a little larger seems to help them recover transplanting stress and they usually bloom sooner, possibly up to 2 weeks sooner than a plant that is planted a week earlier- so you might gain a week. Poor transplant handling or shocking of plants, especially if planting in too cool soil or subjecting to neer freezing temps will usually delay growth and blossoming by serious levels. Those growing plants in pots have that advantage of regulating the plant's environment a bit more.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 6:43PM
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labradors_gw

90 days from the seed germinating to eating a tomato.

This was a yellow cherry which I grew inside this winter.

Linda

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 11:00AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Wow, Linda , 90 days !. That must be some record.

In general, tomatoes are like potatoes : they take any where from 90 days to 120 days, depending on variety and the growing conditions. I will find out what my record will be this season. I have lots of early varieties, just under germination right now. How about June 15th?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 10:32PM
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barrie2m_

Dave had mentioned light considerations earlier in the thread and I wanted to comment on that since it appears we are in mid-winter in central PA with temp 0f -2*F this morning. I've consistantly planted tomatoes in my greenhouses (in the soil) in early to mid- March and there is plenty of sunlight. In our area the Spring Equinox occurs on March 20 so we have the same length of daylight then as on September 23, which many consider the end of the growing season.

The one factor we lack early in the NE is heat. If I would have planted tomatoes in my greenhouses yesterday I could almost gaurantee that they would all be dead today. Others are different but I estimate that I can only keep my greenhouse temps about 20*F above lowest outside temps at night. Some growers have no restriction but their pockets need to be deeper than mine.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 9:25AM
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labradors_gw

bmoser,

Could you start your plants inside where it's warmer?

I assume that you grow a lot of plants, but I've read about a tomato guy who starts his seeds, 4 to a 2" container. He raises them under lights, and doesn't separate them until they are quite large. Might give you some time until it warms up in your greenhouse.

Linda

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 10:42AM
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barrie2m_

Linda,
Exactly what I do with the exception of not seperating. I have over 1100 tomato plants now at 4 wk post seeding. They are under shop lights but have been transplanted from open 1020 tray rows to 48 cell 6-packs in 1020 trays. My goal is for transplant to greenhouse soil by mid-March but I'll know by next week whether I need to just "Pot-up" and hold plants in a benchtop greenhouse which I know I can keep warm.

The problem with allowing plants to be in the same container is that they compete with eachother both by soil root intertwining and growing more spindly stems in competing for light. As the seedlings grow the competition becomes more evident in the overall health and stature if the plants. I see no problem with a 12 wk seedling individually potted in a half-gallon pot. The problem with that is the square feet of space under light (artificial or natural) required that many people starting only 50 plants just don't have.

Since I'll soon be starting a second series of even higher numbers of plants I'm just like everyone else in waiting on the weather.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 10:36AM
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sheltieche

The ones that I did registered last year was 105 days for Paul Robeson and Amazon Chocolate PL. Both were used with WOW.
I have just started extra earlies today. For me documenting DTM makes difference how early I want to start under lights and if there is significant difference for me the way I grow them.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 12:27PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I have started a few , on Feb 14 th, among them SIBARIA. Then I am just germination about 15 varieties. They have not yet emerged. So we will see.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 4:13PM
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fusion_power

The best I've seen is 75 days for Boney-M. The plant is ultra dwarf, about a foot tall and only makes 4 or 5 fruits.

Jagodka is a good example of a super early determinate that produces an entire crop in about 95 days. That is the earliest I've seen for the plant to make about 2 gallons of 1 inch diameter fruit and all of it ripen. Flavor is pretty good also.

There are several other early varieties like Stupice that are not really that early. They have the precocious flowering gene but spread out fruit maturity over a few months.

If you are looking for a good early tomato for planting outdoors, the traits needed are precocious flowering, stress tolerance, cold tolerance, and very rapid growth and transition into flowering mode. Sub Arctic Plenty gets fairly close on these traits, but flavor is mediocre.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 12:21AM
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