Has anyone tried starting tomato seeds directly in the garden? If so did it work well for you or not? And what zone are you in? This is something I've been thinking about lately and am curious to see if anyone does it.
Previously I had started my tomatoes in paper pots. This year, I got lazy and forgot to do that, so I planted them directly in soil. They were slow to start, but took off when the weather warmed up. So far, they're doing great.
This post was edited by Avocado101 on Sun, May 12, 13 at 1:19
There's nothing wrong about sowing seeds directly. The use of transplants simply gives us a several weeks head start.
Thanks for the replies! I didn't get any started inside this year, so in a few days I'll just put the seeds straight into the garden & see what happens. After tomorrow night, Temps are supposed to be high in low 80s & lows in upper 60s for the next week, so hopefully they'll do okay. Only one way to find out!
I have done it in the past many times. Works fine if you have long growing hot season and are willing to wait. I would usually start just a few indoor ahead of time and/or buy few good size established ones to get that early fresh tomato tast, just for the heck of it. Look at it this way: We have all seen volunteers tomato plants.
Although it depends on the specific varieties you want to grow, whether early, midseason or late season varieties I would definitely NOT direct seed in the growing zone you indicate.
IN warmer growing zones, as some folks above have indicated, possibly yes, but not in a 6b area. From mid-May onwards to the middle of June, or so, the weather can change quickly, and does, so IMO not the way to go in your growintg zone in terms of growth, fruit set and fruit maturation. Besides, the soil temps in 6b at this time of the year are still on the cool side which will affect seed germination.
Hope that helps,
At a soli temperature of 50 degrees F, tomatoes take about 43 days to germinate. At a soil temperature of 77 degrees they germinate in about 6 days. So, soil temperature can account for much of the difference in time required for growing them directly seeded in the ground compared to starting inside. Use a kitchen thermometer to check your soil temperature. Soil temperature can be quite different from air temperature when the sun strikes the soil.
Cool temperatures can slow the growth of established plants too, of course. They don't make much progress until it gets warm.
But, based on experience with volunteers, tomatoes definitely can be direct seeded.
Here is a link that might be useful: Germination Temperatures