Starting indoors then moving outdoors?

m1chaelFebruary 13, 2013

All-

Just a few quick questions....I am in the process of putting together a light setup in order to start some tomato seedlings indoors and then will migrate them outdoors when the weather improves in a few months.

Are there certain types of tomatoes I should be looking at or will any variety work with my method (starting inside and moving outside eventually)?

Also, when do most people start their indoor seedlings with plans of moving them to an outside garden?

Thanks....

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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Michael you will get better answers if you put your location or zone on your member page. I think most tomatoes are started indoors. When you start depends on your climate. People in hot summer areas may try to get theirs in extra early to beat the heat.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 3:28PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Are there certain types of tomatoes I should be looking at or will any variety work with my method (starting inside and moving outside eventually)?

Any variety. That is how 99% of folks start their tomatoes. :).

Agree that we need to know where you are located for best advice but in general tomatoes are started indoors approx. 6-8 weeks prior to the date they can be transplanted outside. That date is determined by your location.

Of course they have to be gradually hardened off to the climate change first. They can't just go from inside one day to outside the next. But hardening off is a different discussion.

There is a good How to grow Tomatoes from Seed FAQ here and much more info over on the Growing from Seed forum too.

Dave

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 4:15PM
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m1chael

helenh-

Thanks for the feedback. Sorry about that. I am in DE / zone 7a. I will be sure to include that next time:)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 4:25PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

I echo the request for your location or zone, it would help us to know that.

One factor to consider in the 'type' of tomato to start is Days to Maturity (DTM). If you have a short growing season, like I do here in Phoenix, you want to focus on short DTM varieties.....Silvery Fir Tree, Bloody Butcher, Sophie's Choice and Matina, to name a few.

A tomato that takes 85 to produce fruit is almost never going to work for me here where air temperature reaches 100+ degrees by May and soil temp does not reach the optimal 65 degrees until April.

Alternatively, if you live in a cold[er] climate, there are varieties bred for cool growing conditions....Kimberly, Glacier, Oregon Spring Bush,for example.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 7:26AM
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m1chael

digdirt and marymcp-

I submitted another response with my zone for further reference.

Thanks for the info in ref to pretty much any variety can be started indoors. I usually just buy plants from my local greenhouse but this year I want to do the seedlings myself.

I plan on doing BeefSteak, Roma's, Rutgers, Some kind of grape / cherry, and san marzano (new for me this year).

Couple of questions....I was planning on starting my seeds possibly as early as the beginning of March?

How big do they have to get before you start hardening them off?

Do you think I need a heat pad or whatever under my seeds or will they be ok with just a light over them?

Thanks....

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 9:42AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Seed starting does not take up much room. I have mine in various salvaged plastic containers on top of my refrigerator. I started some on top of my hot water heater it is only warm there not hot. Don't forget to check them because the minute they start pushing up, you need to get them under a light. After they get their true leaves, you transplant them to bigger cups. You can start saving soda cups; I have some black plastic 3 and 4 inch nursery containers from plants I bought last year.

If you haven't grown your own from seed before, the hardening off part is very critical as DigDirt said. You already know what size you want if you have purchased plants and how to protect from frost and cutworms.

Do a search for hardening off plants; it isn't hard to do but is a step where you can lose your plants.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 10:50AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Couple of questions....I was planning on starting my seeds possibly as early as the beginning of March?

How big do they have to get before you start hardening them off?

Do you think I need a heat pad or whatever under my seeds or will they be ok with just a light over them?

Beginning of March is about right. 6-7" tall for hardening and transplanting and yes on the heat mat. Did you check out the FAQs here and the Growing from Seed forum? All those questions are answered there in more detail.

For future reference if you set up your member page then your zone location will be automatically included in each post or you can type it in the box provided with each post.

Dave

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 11:01AM
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ryseryse_2004

I start my seeds the first of April in 16 oz. clear beer cups with holes in the bottom (solder iron). I only put a couple of inches of soil in each cup then 4 seeds. Once the seedlings get true leaves and look good and hardy, I fill up to the top 2 leaves with soil. I continue this till the soil reaches the top. (tomatoes root all along the stems so you get a real strong plant.) I don't use any sort of extra lightling other than my south-facing windows and never get leggy seedlings.

I started 'Tiny Tim' and 'Red Robin', both dwarfs in pots that way on Dec. 12 and they have just now reached the top. I plan to transplant them into larger pots soon. I am hoping to get some real early cherry tomatoes this way!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 5:01PM
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monet_g

M-
My thought is, if you're going to start tomatoes by seed, grow some killer varieties. My staples are Black Krim, Cherokee Purple, Brandy Boy and Sunsugar. BK and CP are heirlooms and all perform well for me in Michigan.

I could send you some seeds if you like. My e-mail is attached to my member's page.

BTW, I started my seeds the other day. They'll go out the end of March/early April under Wall-O-Waters. Right now they're on heat. Once they sprout, they go off the heat and under lights - real close to the lights. Remember, if they do get leggy, you can plant them deep. Not the best way to do it, but it works.
Gail

This post was edited by monet_g on Sat, Feb 16, 13 at 8:49

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 11:48AM
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