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Questions for the tomato experts

Posted by jeremywildcat CO (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 12, 10 at 13:06

Greetings-

I have a few questions for the tomato experts out there. This is my second year gardening in my little 4x8 raised bed garden in Denver, and I'm trying to make the most of the little room I have. This year I've covered about 2/3 of it with black plastic in hopes of getting the soil warmed up faster, and I ran a drip line underneath. I plan on planting cucumbers and a pepper or two under that as well, but mostly 'maters. The uncovered 1/3 is for greens, herbs, peas, etc, of which I've already planted most. I probably only have room for 4 large indeterminates, and I'm looking for suggestions on varieties and timing. Last year I had all hybrids just because I didn't know anything about heirlooms, so I'm willing to give them a shot this year. Last year I had a Beefmaster that was 7' tall, did great and produced a ton, a Husky Cherry Red that also did very well, and an Early Girl that was just OK and not even earlier than the others. I'll probably do the Beefmaster again this year for the high yield, and some kind of cherry, along with trying a couple of heirlooms. I'd like to try a black/purple type, and open to suggestions on the other. For both I'd like them to be as early ripening as possible, as I'm sure most in this area do. Open to suggestions on size, but likley something pretty large. Taste is most important. Obviously I'm impatient and can't wait to stop buying grocery store tomatoes again this year, so I'm excited to get these in the ground. Questions are:

-What type of black/purple heirloom do you suggest? Black Krim perhaps? Cherokee Purple?

-What is an early ripening heirloom you'd suggest?

-Suggestions for my cherry tomato? I'd prefer something with a high yield like my Husky Cherry Red was. Open to hybrid or heirloom.

-When is the earliest I can get away with planting? Last year I probably jumped the gun a little and planted transplants at the end of April. It snowed two days later, but they all ended up fine. This year along with the black plastic I'm also planning to use Walls of Water. The 10 day forecast currently shows a low of 36 (Tuesday), and the "extended outlook 8-14 days" calls for above average temps, so I don't see frost in sight. This coming weekend might be a bit aggressive, but I'm considering it.

-Where is a good place to buy heirloom transplants in Denver? Paulino's perhaps? Do they carry any at the big box stores?

Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

Just found this list at Paulinos which shows all the types they have, and days to maturity, which helps to answer some questions. Still interested to hear your thoughts on them.

Ace 80 Days
Beefsteak 96 Days (Heirloom)
Beefmaster 80 Days
Better Boy 75 Days
Big Beef 73 Days
Big Boy 78 Days
Black Krim 90 Days (Heirloom)
Brandywine 80 Days (Heirloom)
Celebrity 70 Days
Champion 70 Days
Cherokee Purple 80-90 Days (Heirloom)
Early Girl 52 Days
Fourth of July 49 Days
Golden Girl 69 Days
Goliath 85 Days
Health kick 74 Days
Italian Gold 70 Days
Juliet 60 Days (Grape)
Large Red Cherry 75 Days
Lemon Boy 72 Days
Mortgage Lifter 85 Days (Heirloom)
Mountain Pride 77 Days
Mr. Stripey 80 Days (Heirloom)
Navidad 65 Days (Grape)
Patio 70 Days
Red Robin 55 Days (Cherry)
Roma 78 Days (Heirloom)(Paste)
San Marzano 80 Days (Paste)
Siberian 58 Days (Heirloom)
Sun Gold 57 Days (Yellow Cherry)
Super Fantastic 70 Days
Super Sweet 100 65 Days
Viva Italia 75 Days
Yellow Pear 78 Days (Heirloom)


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

I'm maybe ~weekish away from setting out toms in raised bed under WOWs.

Dan


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

Oh boy..only for what its worth
Big beef has been my best tomato 2 years now. Picked one ripe fruit before the early girl that I do not like.
Celebrity is the old stand by.
Cherokee purple is all ways liked.
The brandywines have a reputation for not producing for some people, so if you are short on space.........
Juliet are about the size of you thumb.Give it lots of room side ways and it will feed every kid on the block.
The others, I do not know, but would be tempted to try mountain pride.
Like I say, for what its worth, Kenny


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

Thanks Dan - sounds like I'm not too far off if you're planting in a week also.

Also thanks Kenny - might have to try Big Beef instead, sounds like it's similar to Beefmaster but even has a little sooner DTM. Mine beat the Early Girl also. Definitely need something reliable to keep the Mrs happy! I'll take a look at the others you mentioned as well.

Anyone have experience with Fourth of July around here? A friend of mine in SW KS always has some that are great, and ready by the namesake. Of course it's much hotter there too.


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

Their Large Red Cherry is not only a large cherry, it is a large plant. LRC is also an heirloom and was saved by the same guy who rescued the Brandywine tomato.

This will be first garden that I haven't had LRC in decades. Many years ago, I thought this was the only cherry tomato. (I probably shouldn't admit that, considering the thread title, and all . . . )

Another large plant, is the Super Sweet 100. You can see that Sungold is earlier and it is of fair size, itself. Still, nothing is likely to be as large as the LRC if you are wanting one to compete with your Beefmaster.

Steve


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

I think you'll warm your soil faster with something clear that traps the solar heat under the layer and closer to the soil. Although it is counter-intuitive because it gets too hot to touch, black plastic actually works as a mulch and keeps the ground cooler.


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

One thing I'm using is a brown film from Johnny's to warm my soil. Excellent product & highly recommended.

Dan


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

Jeremy,
I'm in extreme SW KS. I've grown 4th of July. Yes it is an early one. Not a great taster by my standards but a good standby and certainly better than store bought. Cherokee Purple is one of my favorites and one you can find a lot of places. Another that is similar to CP but earlier and produces heavier many times is Indian Stripe. It may be hard to find. The Goliath Hybrid is very good here in this area and one grown by most market growers here. I grow it every year. I'm growing the OP version of Big Beef this year. And also growing Black Krim for the first time. Black from Tula is a good one if you can find it. A few other darks I like are Carbon,Amazon Chocolate and True Black Brandywine.
Brandyboy is a good hybrid if you see it. It is a pink beefsteak type. Caspian Pink is another pink.

Nebraska Wedding is a good producing orange type.

Jet Star and Jetsonic are two more hybrid reds.

Sungold is the most popular cherry in my opinion. Not mine though. It has great taste. Has cracking issues. I'm growing an OP version of it this summer. Galina's Gold Cherry is a nice one I've seen in a few places around here. Sweet Treats is a new variety that is worth a try.

I didn't list most of my favorites as I didn't feel you would be able to find them. I just mainly listed what I've seen for sell around here. Here I see some good op's for sale on Craig's list from growers who have small greenhouses ect. Hope you find some you like and produce well for you. Jay


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

Jay, I'm pleased that you appreciate Goliath Hybrid. It seems to me that of all the tomatoes that you grow, have seed for, and have grown - to rate very high in your estimation, really means something.

I don't remember why I decided to bring it back after Goliath had been absent for a few years from my garden. I'm glad that I did and it may have been that you mentioned it.

Jeremy's listing from Paulino's seems wrong on number of days to maturity. You can't go by these DTM anyway but "85" wouldn't work in my garden, for any warm-season vegetable!

Totally Tomatoes has a half-dozen "sub-varieties" of Goliath. The "Original Goliath Hybrid" is listed as a 65 day tomato. They seem to be just a few days before the Big Beef in my garden and that's a 73 day variety.

They are plenty early and I can't understand Paulino's idea that they are 85 days.

Steve


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

Look up any one variety on a bunch of different sites and youre gonna come up with a bunch of different DTMs, but since he whole DTM thing is pretty much a specious value anyway, Im not sure how much difference it makes. I assume Paulinos gets their DTMs from whatever seed company they buy their veggie seed fromI guarantee the guy who grows the veggies doesnt have a clue what the DTMs are on his ownand he couldnt care less, IMO! I use the DTMs on any given site for a comparison between the different varieties and assume, possibly incorrectly, that the ones they list with shorter DTMs will produce sooner than the ones with the longer DTMs. But when you get right down to it, it all depends on soil, and water, and weather. And when they say DTM from when theyre planted outplanted out from what? I guess they assume 6 week seedlings, but even that can make a HUGE difference depending on growing conditions. So if anybody around here sets out a tomato plant and gets ripetruly ready to eatfruit by whatever number of days the seed company said was the DTM, Id sure like for them to post it! Cynic here! Ill believe it when I see it!

Jeremy, Im one of the ones who loves SunGold! One of only two so far that I grow every year. It produces early and a LOT, and I happen to love the flavor. My second "keeper" is Sweet Baby Girl, a red cherry that also has great flavor, produces almost as quickly as SunGold, and almost never splitswhich many cherries do. Hoping to find a couple more keepers this year!

And while Im here, Ill post this again! Its from Cornell, and it ranks tomatoes a bunch of different ways. Im linking it set on "Highest Rated Overall," but you can switch to Highest Rated: taste or yield or ease, or by DTM. Its a really good reference sitefor other veggies too.

Skybird

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornell Vegetable Rating site


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

-Steve, that LRC sounds great, but I think I'd lean towards something with a lower DTM, unless you've known them to be earlier than indicated. The size is tempting though.

-David, that's a bummer if I've been mislead to think that black plastic was a good idea. I got that from one of the CSU extension sheets.

-Dan, I might have to try that brown mulch next year.

-Jay thanks for the suggestions. I'm starting to lean towards Black Krim based on what I've read. Some seem to prefer it slightly over Cherokee Purple, though I could go either way.

-Digit and Skybird I agree with you on the DTM. I'm sure they use some kind of average, but that can vary so much. Like I mentioned, my Beefmaster (80 days), matured before my Early girl (52 days). That's quite a difference!

I hear a lot of great things about Stupice, which might be a good early one for me to try in place of 4th of July. It's not on their list, but maybe I could find it elsewhere. Sungold is a good possibility for the cherry. Also I'm not set on going to Paulino's, it's just one place I found online that has a list already and seems to be popular here. Sounds like most of you all start from seeds anyway.

It probably sounds like I'm too fixated on getting things that mature early, but I just hate waiting, and last year 2 out of 3 plants were just hitting their stride when it got cold in October. Wish I had more room so I could just try them all like you all seem to! I might have to get an Earthbox/Earthtainer or two this year...


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

  • Posted by skybird z5, Denver, CO (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 13, 10 at 13:29

Ive heard good things about Stupice over the last few years too, Jeremy, and Im finally getting around to trying it this year!

And I think Juliet is one I tried in a friends yard a few years back, and I LOVED it, so Im trying that one this year too. Hope Im right that its the one I loved!

I think youre on the right track by looking for the ones listed with short DTMs. It may be a pretty wacky system (tho I cant think of a better one!), but you need to start somewhere! Just be sure you keep track of how the individual varieties perform for YOU, so you have a starting point for next year. And remember your sense of humorsince theyll all do somewhat differently every year!

And if youre looking to buy plants locally, I do think Paulinos might have a better selection than anybody else in the Metro area. Not sure of that, but they do carry a lot of varietiesand in different sizes. I dont think they have as many varieties in gallon pots as they do in the smaller sizes. And one more thing, if you are gonna buy tomatoes locally, wherever you go, be sure you do it SOON. All the places will start running out of some of the varieties very soon!

My tomatoes are just starting to get their first true leaves! Hows that for being AHEAD of the curve??? ;-)

Skybird


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

Steve,
I'm not sure how many years I've grown the original Goliath. For sure 10 plus. Maybe close to 15. Last year was the firt time I lost it and didn't eat a one. I only planted two plants as I was trying so many new ones and lost both. Usually very vigorous, disease resistant and produces 20 pounds or more per plant. The most reliable of any plant I've grown op or hybrid. I know one farm market grower who only grows it now. 500 plus plants per year. Yes I agree it is earlier than 85 days here.

DTM's can be deceiving depending on where they are grown. Total daylight hours is what really makes a difference. That is why they can grow things in areas up north where they may only have 100 day growing seasons. I know from trading seeds with sources from Canada south. I've learned when a person in the north says 65 days it will be more like 70 here but when a person in the south says 65 days it will usually come in less. Depending on how far south. Then weather conditions weigh into that also. I like to use them for comparison purposes. If a person or site lists several varieties I find one I've grown on their list. Then take the difference between the two and add or subtract that from my DTM for the one I've grown. Gives me a good idea of what to expect. DTM is nothing more than one growers experience. Liked mentioned a place to start. But not a given.

I don't grow Stupice. I do grow a few earlies like Vintage Wine Striped and Moneymaker. Neither have great taste but both are fairly early and are way better than store bought.

I've heard good things from most on Black Krim. Every variety has it's distractors. It will have to be really good to beat my Cherokee Purple. Again don't think you will go wrong with either one. I ended up with two cups unmarked last year out of over 300. I grew both. They ended up being the same variety. A black I couldn't decide what it was. Narrowed it down to 3 varieties. Was the best black I grew last year. I didn't save seeds as I hate to save seeds from something I'm not sure about. Wish I had now. It was so good that I sliced some of them along with some of my others and put on a plate for a burger fry I had here at work. One coworker went through the plate before we started serving and picked everyone of the slices out. So yes there are many good ones out there. Finding them and also those that will set and produce well here is what takes time.


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

-Steve, that LRC sounds great, but I think I'd lean towards something with a lower DTM, unless you've known them to be earlier than indicated. The size is tempting though.

No, Jeremy, I'm afraid they've got the DTM about right for that one . . . well, for comparison purposes.

I used to hear other gardeners say that cherries were earlier and since I only had Large Red Cherry in my garden each year, I didn't know what they were talking about. Growing such a large plant takes them awhile.

S'


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

The tomatoes that always work well for me are the old standard Early Girl, Sweet 100, and Golden Boy. This year I'm trying Beaverlodge, from Territorial Seeds. That variety is very early and is advertised to set fruit at low temperatures. We'll see.

I start my tomatoes and peppers in a large (8'x20') cold frame during the first week in May and the polyethylene isn't removed until July 1. At 7400' in SW Colorado, we routinely experience hard freezes into late June.

Mark


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

Well I decided to do some research on the plastic mulches, and it sounds like black will heat up the soil, but about half as well as clear. The others are somewhere in between, with the advantage of not allowing weeds to grow like the clear stuff.

I think I used the wrong kind of black plastic though, as it's not specifically made for mulch and might be too thick. So, I'm going to see if I can find some clear or colored mulch like Dan's to replace it with. Anyone else have experience with these in this area?


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

I'm in Littleton proper and set 10 tomato plants out in 2 3'X19' raised beds this past weekend. I have clear 4 mil plastic on the beds and WoW's around the plants. It's a bit of an experiment to set them out this early and I realize I may not be buying much over waiting a couple of weeks.

I laid the clear plastic out on one of the beds in late March and left the other one bare. My wife no longer uses this big, pronged meat thermometer so I've been using that as an excellent soil thermometer. I've seen the plastic-covered bed is usually between 6-10 deg. F warmer than the bare one at 4" depth. The difference has been biggest in midday sun and on clear, cold mornings.

My biggest concern with the plastic is that it will inhibit air getting to the plants' roots. On the other hand, I really like its moisture-conserving properties. So I'm torn as to whether I'll replace the plastic with a grass clipping mulch when the soil has sufficiently warmed up (say in early June) or leave it on and place the mulch over it to keep the soil from getting too hot during the summer.


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

Take the plastic off and replace with a mulch that allows gas exchange Adam.

Dan


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

From what I've read, the wind fluttering underneath the plastic actually pumps more oxygen to the soil. FWIW.

I took the black plastic off, and did a very unscientific experement by sticking my finger in several places in the garden. The ones that were covered definitely seemed slightly warmer, so it does seem it was doing its job. Of course that just as easily could have been coincidence.

Before I did that, I went to Home Depot to find some other plastic mulch. They had nothing but black weed netting in the garden department, and they looked at me like I was crazy when I asked for plastic mulch. I ended up getting a 1 mil clear dropcloth and used that, so we'll see how it works. From what I've read, 1 mil is the preferred thickness, though it sounds like your 4 mil is working well. Not sure what my black stuff was, but it was pretty thick. (Also I couldn't help myself and picked up some more onions, along with cilantro and basil. Basil will stay inside for a bit. The plant cost about as much as a little container at the grocery store.)

Anyway, we'll see how it turns out. One of the studies I was reading, done in Iowa, said that clear plastic resulted in a couple week earlier yields. If that is the case I'll be thrilled.

Adamsn06, keep us posted on how yours come along, and I'll do the same. A forum like this would be a good place to come up with some best practices for the important quest of early 'mater production.


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

  • Posted by skybird z5, Denver, CO (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 15, 10 at 14:46

LOL, Adam! I use my still-in-service-in-the-kitchen instant read meat thermometer! I havent checked anything yet this year, but when I want to check the soil or compost, I just get it out of the drawer and take it out and stick it in the dirt! Hey, the food we EAT grows in the soil, so I dont see whats wrong with sticking my meat thermometer in the soil! Yeah! I wash it before I stick it back in any meat! ;-) I just wish it were a little bit longerits only about 5". When I occasionally want to check out the compost pile, I push the whole thing and most of my hand into the pile to get it deeper!

For anybody who doesnt have one, instant read meat thermometers are great and not really expensive at allbut look for the longest one you can find!

Welcome to RMG,
Skybird


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

I happened to be in Longmont on Saturday and drove by a place called The Flower Bin. They had a ton of great transplants, including most of the ones I wanted, so I decided to go for it. Ended up buying an Earthbox also so I could have 6 instead of 4 tomato plants:

-Black Krim
-Cherokee Purple
-Brandywine
-Mortgage Lifter
-SunSugar Cherry
-Fourth of July

Really wanted Stupice, but they were all sold out. If I find one soon I might replace one of the bigger heirlooms with it. Decided to bail on the Beefmaster because they only had small transplants of it, and reasoned that 4 large heirlooms should produce plenty anyway.

Also bought walls o water, two 3-packs, and set them up Saturday. I was amazed when I peeked in the tops of them yesterday how hot and humid it was inside. Wish I had set them out earlier to start warming the ground, maybe next season. The directions say you can leave them on all season. Do you all take yours off after it warms up and they start to get too big? Thinking I probably will.

Dreaming of ripe tomatoes in June...


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

If you leave them out the UV light starts to degrade them, and surely you'll nick one and the water will run out of a cell and who knows what else will happen to poke a hole in one. Or three.

I have an extra stupice, but you're a little out of my neighborhood. ;o) I'm putting several toms in the ground this week, and the 'Stupice' and 'Bloody Butcher' have suddenly taken off and are crowding the shelf. WOWs will come down depending upon the weather, but some ~ May 15-20 and I'll leave several on some peppers like habaero for 10-14 days longer.

Dan


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

So when do you plant your peppers? I'll probably only do a jalepeno and maybe one other. Perhaps by the time I plant those I can use my WOWs from my tomato plants. Also when do you plant cukes? I was thinking mid may for both of those, or maybe even late May. Last year I remember thinking that my jalepeno plant hadn't grown an inch in the first month or two.


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

If not under WOW-cloche, then weekend of Mothers Day. I still haven't run up to Sierra Spring Water to see how many recycles they can sell me, but I'll put some peppers under those for more heat if the light coming thru is OK. This year you can probably plant cukes earlier, but usu after last frost. I'm starting mine indoors PDQ for putting out ~Mothers Day. Another dad at school said he put his watermelon seeds in the ground as he thought he could cover the seedlings in this weather....

Dan


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

I see we have a 32 degree overnight temp coming early next week. I just got 4 WOW's up in the raised bed today, my daughter's prom put a serious dent in my weekend. I can't decide now if I should plant some this weekend or not. I think I will, I have plants to spare if they don't make it.
Barb


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

32F is nothing for a WOW. Last year here we got a 24F night and I had probably ~12 out and zero loss. Pretty sure a couple of my tallest toms are going out today as they can't grow through the wire shelving...

Dan


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

Guess I'm lucky being in 80211, as the 10 day weather.com forecast shows a low of 40 for me. I'll probably wait for the cukes and peppers a bit though. They sell decent ones at the store, unlike tomatoes, so I'm not jonesing for them quite as bad.

The plants I have out look happy as can be, even the one without a WOW. One of my WOWs had broken cell dividers so it can't be used. Guess it will make for a good comparison.


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

One of my WOWs had broken cell dividers so it can't be used.

Repair kits should be in the display where they are sold.

Dan


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

Well I'd hope I wouldn't have to repair a brand new WOW though!

Actually this got me thinking, so I just called The Flower Bin, and they said they'd replace it.

Where's that darn sun we were supposed to have today...


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

I didn't plant the toms today under WOWs because no sun, but the peas and spinach and lettuce liked today a lot.

I also use bike tire patch repair on my WOW holes, or backpacking air mattress repair works too.

Dan


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

Good tip, Dan. I found one hole in one cell and was considering duct tape!
Jeremy, I'm glad the Flower Bin will take care of it. It's just a pain to lose prep time having to replace a WOW.
I know I'm getting itchy to plant a tomato. This will be the earliest I've ever planted. The plants have taken over the kitchen and spilled into the living room. I measured my tallest plant today, a Sweet Baby Girl and it's 27 inches from pot bottom to tip. She wants out! I am loving this weather. We are actually having spring!
Barb


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tomato plants for late May?

Will I be able to find tomato plants for sale the last week of May? I am moving to the Denver area around then and was really hoping to buy some starts for this summer. I hope I will be able to find some!


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

When will you actually be arriving in Denver, Kat? The Spring Swap is Sunday, the 23rd, and there are going to be LOTS of FREE tomatoes there! If youre getting here before then, it might be a nice little break from the moving!

Im sure youll still be able to find tomatoes the end of May, but the selection will probably be somewhat limited by then.

Heres a possible alternate plan if you cant make it to the swap! I know you were talking about finding a place down on the south end of the city somewhere, and I live all the way up on the north end, in Thornton (120th & Colorado Blvd.)but if youd like, and if youre willing to drive all the way up here to get them, Id be glad to bring however many tomatoes you want home with me and hold them until you can come pick them up. All the tomato people at the swap could collude to help get you a good selection of different varieties!

It would be nice if the first option would work out, but if it doesnt, PM me if youd like me to snag some for you.

:-)
Skybird


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tomato plants in late May

Sorry jeremywildcat if I hijacked your thread!

Skybird, That's so NICE of you! I will try my darndest to come to the Swap! We don't have a house yet. Still looking! The weekend of the Swap might be when we actually make our move to Colorado, not sure yet. Will keep you posted.

From now on, I'll post in the Swap thread. (humbly bowing out of this one)
Later!


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

  • Posted by skybird z5, Denver, CO (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 23, 10 at 19:47

LOL! Thread hijacking happens fairly often here on RMG, Kat! The nice thing about having friendly folks around here is that nobody ever gets bent out of shape about itbut often the people doing it dont get as many responses to their question since people dont see their issue presented in the subject of a separate thread. But it worked here, and Ill see you over on the swap thread or the what do you want swap thread. Hope youll somehow be able to make it, but if you cant, just private message me thru GardenWeb to let me know if you want me to get some for you, and how many and which varieties youd prefer (you might want to pick out varieties on the "what do you want" thread).

If youre out here right nowespecially if youre looking down on the south end of townwhat do you think of our Rocky Mountain SPRING weather? If you see this and have time, post on the "What a day!" thread!

See you on the swap thread,
Skybird


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

These here parts - almost Centennial - you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a for sale sign and I'll...um...oooh. OT. Shucky darns. Shy Bird will be mad.

;o)

Dan


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

Well I am mad now, Dan! I want to know what the end of that sentence is!!!

And ----- When's the last time you swung a dead cat???

If you have an answer for that question, I'm not talking to you anymore!

Oh, and----it's BLOWING like crazy up here right now, Mr. Weatherman! Are you managing to stay attached to terra firma over there on the east side? How about your TOMATOES?

Now my reply isn't OT!

(not too) Shy Bird


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

I'm leading a group of elementary students this morning, so I'm counting on the winds relaxing a bit so they don't blow away, because I can't nail kids down like I can the stuff in the garden. Toms are nice and cozy in their houses despite the flurries flying about. The plant pieces the hail knocked off are all distributed around the neighborhood, soon to be worm food. Kat should leave all her lightweight garden appurtenances behind, because they will end up in Kansas come spring.

Dan


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

Ha - no problem on the threadjack - I already got the info I was looking for! :) Of course after last night everyone is probably laughing that I planted so early, but I think the WOWs probably kept them warm enough. Also covered them up just in case.

Like Skybird said, this is a pretty friendly forum where people don't get bent out of shape easily.


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

So back OT, last night we had sleet and snow, low temps ~31F, and the WOWs protected my little dears no problem. Never an issue until mid-20sF IME (as long as there is sun to heat water). And I don't work for the company.

Dan


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

I got 4 toms planted Sunday. I dug till I hit hardpan but the Sweet Baby girl is still taller than the WOW. I planted a tall stake with her and am covering the WOW with a black plastic pot, she's come through 2 nights of frost with no damage. I just realized I'm posting on a tom expert thread and I am sooo not one! My pathetic looking Cherokee Purple plants can attest to that!
Barb


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

Quick update - I thought I had made it past that frost/freeze last week, but when I came home after work on Thursday I found my Black Krim was completely wilted. It was the only plant without a WOW, and died because of it. Sounds like some people try to let them grow back, but this didn't look like it had any hope, so I pulled it out.

Also the top of my Brandywine that was sticking out the top of the WOW froze and died. I pruned the top off, including the main growth tip unfortunately, so hopefully it will be fine without it. I was able to replace my BK with a Stupice. Wish I had exchanged that faulty WOW earlier, though this definitely proved how useful they are.

Forecast shows a low of 33 for Friday (5/7), so I guess we still aren't in the clear yet either. Looks like we have a few nice days early this week at least.

My Sunsugar and Fourth of July in my Earthbox both have several green tomatoes already...


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

Gone for the weekend, came back to light frostbite on potatoes under lightweight row cover, nothing on toms under WOWs, I see from metro records here we had two nights below 32F for 2 hours. And the ding-dan red dust from Utah still on everything.

Dan


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

Jeremy,
The cold reached down into SW KS. I have a coworker who for some reason removed his plastic buckets last week. They had said 40 for Friday night but he went below freezing south of Johnson and lost every tomato he had. I will start planting here in Elkhart this week. I will use plastic buckets. Have had them protect plants down to 28. But if you have WOW's and have the time they are the way to go for the plants set out early. My problems with putting out 80-100 plants I don't have time to put up that many WOW's. With the greenhouse next season I plan to put several in container early and keep them inside till safe to move them out. I built it 18 x 20 so I would have plenty of room. Jay


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

I know what you mean - I'd go crazy trying to fill up 100 WOWs. I had a hard enough time with just 6! Good luck with your plants, that's a real investment compared to us home gardeners.


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RE: Questions for the tomato experts

Put a 5-gal bucket in the middle of your WOW. Use a funnel and hose to deliver and direct the water. Fill one chamber, go across and fill another, then 90 away and fill the third, then directly across and fill the fourth. That will keep it upright-ish and then fill the rest.

But I wouldn't want to fill 100 either.

Dan


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