Need rec patio/grape tomato for WS

river_crossroads z8b Central LouisianaDecember 2, 2010

Hi all, can someone recommend a patio or grape tomato for winter sowing? Could you share your experience in finding a tasty patio tomato?

It's for salads & snacking. I have limited space, but a nice patio, & ideally would like to grow a small plant in a small pot that delivers big taste. From reading this forum & searching the online companies mentioned, I've found 3 possibilities but don't know if I can WS them tho' I've read what I can in the WS forum.

I'm leaning toward 1) Red Robin #6010 at tomatogrowers, a new dwarf of the cherry that can be grown in an 8" pot, H 8-12" D 1.25" - the largest fruit of the 3 that I'm listing. I can't save the search but on the tomatogrowers link below I typed "patio tomato" in the search box & several possibilities were returned, be sure to arrow down.

Here are links that might be useful: www.tomatogrowers.com

2) Micro-Tom #6536, H 5-8", D 0.5" is another possibility.

A 3rd possibility is Victory Seeds - Tiny Tim H 10-12", D 0.5"

Can I WS these & how tasty do you think they might be? I realize that you may not have grown these specific ones but could you share your experience that I might benefit from it? I'd appreciate a rec of something else, an online source plus any tips on WS. Thanks!!

River

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trudi_d

Hi River,

If tomatoes reseed in your zone 8 garden then you can WS them.

So, choosing a tomato is not based upon the germination method because tomatoes can sprout inside or outside in your climate, and they will begin sprouting (likely) by at least early April, I know that they will begin sprouting here in zone 7 by mid April.

What's important in choosing your toms is selecting varieties that will thrive under your local disease pressures. There are several that will do for you, I checked the LSU Extension site for a vegetable guide and they recommended these small fruited types: Cherry Grande, Brixmore, Small Fry, Mountain Belle, Cupid, Jolly, Navidad, Juliet, Sweet Million, Elfin, BHN 685 Roma, Muriel Roma, Smarty Grape, Picus Roma, Marcelina Cherry, Sun Gold Cherry.

For info on these tomatoes (well, a good many of them) can be found here at Tomato Growers Supply

As for a personal recommendation, I am very fond of Tiny Tim which I found to be a fabulous cropper, very nice for containers. I like its flavor and it was also a favorite of my late dog Lizzy--in a garden full of many types of tomatoes she would steal Tiny Tims every chance she had.

Here is a link that might be useful: LSU Veggie Planting Guide (go to page six for list)

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 8:04PM
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river_crossroads z8b Central Louisiana

Thanks, Trudi, you really saved me a lot of time & effort. IâÂÂve found seeds for Small Fry, which you mention & I see on that LSU list of ones that can stand up to my local diseases. ItâÂÂs also AAS. IâÂÂll check out the others before buying but Small Fry looks like it might be good for me. I can ask the reseeding question that you raise at an upcoming workshop & will have all the info in plenty of time.

I used to put store bought tomatoes on my windowsill to ripen but IâÂÂd come home to find tooth marks where the cat had bitten in & had to find another place for the tomatoes. You wouldnâÂÂt think a cat would bite into a tomato. Thanks so very much for your help!!

River

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 12:03AM
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trudi_d

You're welcome River. Over the length of my lifetime I've had more than a few cats in my life that would eat tomatoes. One of my childhood cats loved to lick a slice of beefsteak ;-)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 11:21AM
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river_crossroads z8b Central Louisiana

Trudi,

UPDATE: You said, "If tomatoes reseed in your zone 8 garden then you can WS them."

I asked an LSU Ag Center horticulturalist & apparently they don't reseed here. Or, he says that's not the way we grow tomatoes here. He says that we don't sit around & wait to see what has come up from last year. We sow inside about Feb 1, then 8 weeks later or around April 1, transplant outside. So I guess that he's saying tomatoes don't reseed in our area - that's the best I could get.

I've gotten a package of 100 seeds of Small Fry from Willhite Seed in Texas, thinking that I could try WS with some of the seeds & see. In your WS faq you say to wait until the deciduous trees in my neighborhood have lost all their leaves & they have, just a few scattered leaves left for the wind to blow off. In general I always think that winter is pretty much over in my area by Feb 14 & there are only a few freezes after that. I'd like to WS cilantro & my Small Fry tomatoes. Can I start both Dec 21? It's good to read about your new puppy Emily, even if she did shred the seed pack. Thanks!!

River (z8b, heat zone 9, Central Louisiana - my profile has gotten messed up as other peopleâÂÂs have, I can't save my profile if I try to fix it & I've written GW)

    Bookmark   December 18, 2010 at 10:49AM
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trudi_d

I asked an LSU Ag Center horticulturalist & apparently they don't reseed here. Or, he says that's not the way we grow tomatoes here. He says that we don't sit around & wait to see what has come up from last year. We sow inside about Feb 1, then 8 weeks later or around April 1, transplant outside. So I guess that he's saying tomatoes don't reseed in our area - that's the best I could get.

facepalm

===================

No rush on sowing them now, anytime during your local winter is fine. End of January or anytime up until the middle of February is fine.

I'm here in zone 7 and I usually WS my toms between the middle of February up to the first week of March. They start sprouting by the middle of April.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2010 at 11:36AM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

River, I'm in Baton Rouge. I seeded cilantro back in October for the fall garden along with dill. No need to wait. Do it now.

I start all my tomatoes and peppers indoors around the first week of February. Once they germinate I move them outdoors to the cold frame where they stay until time to transplant mid-March through early April.

March 1, 2010 pic of the kitchen garden and cold frame...

    Bookmark   December 18, 2010 at 10:57PM
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river_crossroads z8b Central Louisiana

Thanks, Trudi and Natal, very helpful! I will start the cilantro now & the tomatoes indoors the first week in Feb like you do, Natal. I got the big packet of Small Fry seeds so I might as well try the WS with them at the same time in Feb. Natal, I'm just curious. Do tomatoes reseed in our climate? Have you ever tried winter sowing in the milk jugs or similar containers in Baton Rouge? Maybe not because you have that nice cold frame. Good looking garden & blessed by St. Francis. I've got limited space inside & the WS sounded like a great solution. Thanks again to you both!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 1:33AM
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trudi_d

Definitely try sowing seeds indoors and outdoors via WS, and at the end of the season compare how it all worked out for you ;-)

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 9:29AM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

I find tomato volunteers in my compost, but I don't keep them. I'd rather know what I'm growing.

I don't wintersow. Do love having a cold frame. For many years it was a homemade contraption. The one in the pic is nice, because it collapses at the end of the season for easy storage.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 11:31AM
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Bets(z6A S ID)

Hello Crossroads,

"I asked an LSU Ag Center horticulturalist . . . that's the best I could get."

In my experience Ag Center horticulturalists, extension agents, and master gardeners, etc., know precious little about tomaotes, and if they do have information on them, it is oriented towards commercial production. I have not found a single one in our area, or three other states that I have lived in, that really knew anything about seed saving, heirlooms of any kind or even why one would want to use open pollinated vegetables. I am not putting down horticulturalists, extension agents, and master gardeners, it is just that they often have a broad range of information so that some of it is not very in depth. I just find it frustrating that they don't have a lot of knowledge about the most popular home grown vegetable in the country! However, they are often good resources for information about frost dates, diseases in the area and general gardening information.

Take what they say about tomatoes with a large grain of salt. (And what I say, since your mileage may vary.)

Trudi is a very experienced Winter Sower, and I would tell you that if you want to Winter Sow and Trudi says you can do it, then you can.

Betsy

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 2:50PM
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river_crossroads z8b Central Louisiana

Thanks Trudi, Natal, Bets. Betsy, as you mention, Ag Center experts know local diseases. I verified with him that Small Fry was still being recommended for my area (because of resistance to local diseases, which Trudi pointed out & was new to me). Trudi & Natal have me straight with usual dates & we will have to see if the winter is longer than usual - I will try to keep records. Ooh, la, la, Natal, a cold frame that collapses for off-season storage during our long summers! Good looking, too. Tres bien. I got Cilantro seeds today & I am ready to plant everything on schedule. Thank you all, I am very grateful!!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 10:54PM
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