It is almost time to start

jimh6278January 12, 2007

ItÂs almost time to start my tomatoes. My start date is 1/27/07 for seeds with a projected transplanting date of April 14 in walls-o-water. Last year I got them transplanted on April 7 but I donÂt think it gained me anything. I am starting:

1. Orange Blossom from JohnnyÂs. This is a great early medium sized tomato. We harvested in late June last yea and they produced all summer. Too tall for a commercial tomato cage I made special 2.5 cages from concrete reinforcing net. These are low acid tomatoes and can even be used for a great flavored and unusual froze orange sauce.

2. Brandywines from JohnnyÂs  favorite mid season also make great sauce

3. Gold Medal from Territorial- new variety this year  wanted to try a substitute for Mr. Stripey

4. Pineapple from Territorial  new variety this year - wanted to try a substitute for Mr. Stripey

5. Black Prince from JohnnyÂs  somewhat early and sweet. The blacks seem to stop producing when it gets hot

6. Golden Sweet from JohnnyÂs for the trellis entrance to the garden. For nibbling. (I also plant malabar on trellis for appearance and nibbling)

All my tomatoes are of the low acid variety and the Brandywines and Orange Blossom are very meaty for sauces without the zing and acid of RomaÂs. I start them in Park starters and transplant into 3" peat pots. They are fed lots of juice from the worm farm and develop a really dark healthy green color even under the lites. I use a heat mat for the entire time. I am also starting a flat of Ailsa Craig Onion seeds at the same time. The rest of my onions come as plants from Dixondale Farms in Texas. The reason I got into the plant starting business is because I cold not find a local garden shop/nursery that had a decent selection of different varieties. Once I set up the starting station in my storage room the rest was easy. And besides, it satisfies my desire to get gong when it is still winter.

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woco(z6 UT)

You are really ambitious. I have ordered all of my seeds and plants but I usually do not do anything until April 1st. Maybe I will start my tomatoes earlier this year and hopefully get a better crop. I am just grateful that we got some snow in Cedar City. With the drought of the last few years, I always wait for the snow to see if we will have water for a garden.

Bill

    Bookmark   January 12, 2007 at 4:42PM
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jimh6278

Actually, a big part of my motivation is the acidity in the tomatoes. I find that most of the standards found in garden centers and nurseries are very high in acid and it doesnÂt agree with me  old age. Once you set up the lights, the rest is easy. I have 3  2 tube 4 foot fixtures which gives me ample space for 3 trays. That takes care of all my starting needs. Even though it sounds like a lot I only wind up with 7 plants. I always have 2 Brandywines and 2 Orange Blossoms. The other 3 keep changing. Last year I grew a Black Brandywine from Totally Tomatoes that really wasnÂt. It had potato leaves and was black, which is all I can say for it. Mr. Stripey was a great tomato but I wanted to expand my use of Territorial Seeds and neither they nor JohnnyÂs sells that kind so I am going with different varieties.

Jim

    Bookmark   January 13, 2007 at 10:27AM
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songbirdmommy(UT 5)

I heard the coolest idea on Saturday.
My husband and I listen to a gardening show and a caller called in to say that just before they transplant their tomatoes(with walls of water), the guy pours 3 big pots of hot or boiling water into the holes to make sure that the ground is warm enough too.
Makes sense to have to roots nice and warm when transplanted.

I was wondering if it would do anything to the soil though.

Guess it is a question I can pose in my Master Gardener class when it starts in a few weeks.
I will let ya'll know what I find out... if anyone is interested.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 12:48PM
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