Zone 5 Starting from Seed

mike63(z5 MA)March 15, 2011

Is it too early/late to start tomatoes from seed for a Memorial Day Weekend planting? I usually buy plants but decided to be ambitious this year and throw together a little shelf with a fluorescent light and do them myself. I also read online one warm white bulb and one cool white bulb are the best way to go. Any thoughts? Thank you

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tom8olvr(Z5 MA)

I think it's early to start them now for Mem Day planting. I'm also Z5, MA. I'll start SOME the end of March but most April 2 for May 28th planting. Oxhearts I'll start a week later. We can talk more, if you like. I've been starting seed in the house for a few years now... oh alright, a few decades... :)

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 10:14AM
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Grow seedlings for 7 to 8 weeks and harding them off before planting outside. As Tom suggested now would be a might early to start seeds for an end of May plant out.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 1:02PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I am planting some now for early May sales and then again in two weeks for late May sales.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 4:25PM
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I'm 5b (central CT) and I never start before April 1. Well, actually, the first time, I started them in early March and was sorry. They got way to big to manage effectively. Remember too, that the days to maturity are from setting out, not from seed germination. I'd go with tom8olvr's suggestion.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 11:18PM
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I don't start tomato seeds in my SE Michigan zone 5 until about the 10th or 12th of April for planting outside around the 15th to the 30th of May. Traditional last frost date in my zone 5 is May 15th, but I've had some cold weather surprises. When I start the seeds any earlier the plants of course grow bigger but look weak, tired and sickly, plus I've found that even really small plants(maybe only 2 or 3 inches high)seem to "catch up" to three times bigger healthy nursery plants planted at the same time.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 9:57AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I am actually going to be planting out Tomatoes in one of my High Tunnels this weekend. I intended to plant out on March 20th, 6 weeks ago and I never thought it would happen, but I am rolling the dice and going to try it. The 15 day forecast looks favorable. I am not going to plant all of them, 200, but I will probably plant 25-30 this weekend and another 75 in a week to 10 days and the remaining around April 1/2nd.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 10:49AM
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I stagger my seed starting a few weeks, and my transplanting about three weeks. Just in case the weather throws up some surprises.

My Brandywine are already getting big, so I might try to move them and the peppers to the flour. lights out in the garage.

Bob Zone 6

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 5:10PM
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tom8olvr(Z5 MA)

The lake I live on is still frozen and we are expecting accumulating snow today. Tough to think about planting!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 9:41AM
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rxkeith(z5 MI)

i never start seeds before april 1st for a plant out date of first week of june. cherry tomato seeds get planted a week later because they grow faster. general rule is start seeds 6 to 8 weeks before plant out. goal is to have a 6 to 8 inch plant at plant out. you have plenty of time.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 8:35PM
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Hoping you might have a few minutes to chat.
I am looking into selling plants this year but I am not sure where to begin. Every year especially last year I end up giving over 150 plants away for free to friends family and co-workers. Do you mind contacting me and spending a few minutes to chat about your methods? I'm in NY so no competition here! - oh yeah - Jay here too! - -Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 10:14PM
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We start ours right after St. Patricks Day. We always throw a party on that day so it is easy to remember the date. I would like to say it is more scientific than that, but no lol.. We start pretty much everything the day after the party. I try to get stuff in the ground around mothers day or a few days later. I do have to tarp some stuff from time to time, but I generally get earlier fruit this way.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 11:52AM
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I have peppers growing already, a week up. Our summers have changed so I have to change with them and start earlier so they have time to get big enough.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 3:44PM
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What do you mean that your summers have changed?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 8:52AM
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I'm interested in your plan for cold weather (nights). I will plant a few hundred plants in a tunnel in 2-3 weeks but I plan to provide heat as needed thru April. With a little extra heat most of those nights the plants seem to grow better and produce much earlier than without. Do you use row cover within the tunnel or any other protection?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 11:23AM
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