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Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Posted by seysonn 7b WA/HZ 1 (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 30, 14 at 3:48

Have you started your tomatoes yet ? WHY ? WHY NOT ?

Lets keep a log based on:
(1) Start Date (2) Your Zone Number , (3) Your Average Last Frost Date,.

I start with myself: (!) Start Date:..NOT YET ... (2) Zone: 7b ....(3) LF Date: ~ April 7.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Start Date: January 3-16
Big Beef
Sun Gold
Mortgage Lifter
Cherokee Purple
Matt's Wild Cherry

The reason I started so early is because I'm hoping to have nice, chunky plants by transplant-time. Tomato production/ripening here only lasts about 30 days, mid-June through mid-July.

Zone 8a

Last Frost Date? I have to laugh about this one. It's "officially" February 26th with a 50-percent probability, but I delay planting until the end of March or beginning of April with an eye on the 10-day forecast. I may gamble this year and try a couple weeks earlier, but I may end up regretting it!


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Start Date: Still debating, maybe late March.
Zone: 7a
LF: 50% chance on April 23. Safest after Mother's Day


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Waiting here to start until March 1
Zone 7b
LF: April 15

If anyone needs help knowing when to start their tomato seeds, here's a helpful page: http://www.tomatodirt.com/tomato-seeds.html

Here is a link that might be useful: Tomato Seeds: When You Should Start Them In Your Area


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Thanks Kathy

According to that thread's recommendation, you count back 4 to 6 weeks from your LF date. I have read 6 to 8 and even 8 to 10 weeks. I will take 6 to 8. That gives me a TO GO AHEAD date of Feb. 14 to 21. And that is when probably I am going to get to work on tomatoes.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

According to the linked page, I just made it by the skin of my teeth! Phew!

-Bruce


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Hurry it up Bruce : D


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

  • Posted by arley 7b/8a SC (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 1, 14 at 3:36

My last frost date is tax day, April 15

That's about ten weeks from now. I have obtained all my seeds, and this weekend I'm rigging up a grow light. I have ordered a 48x22 heating pad, waiting for it to arrive. Will start seeds sometime this week, or next weekend at the latest. I like to have big plants that I bury deeply.

Depending on the weather in early April, I may try to plant a little early, but the plants won't do that much till the soil warms up anyway.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Arley,

I have gardened in north GA(North ATL), not too far from SC. There LF date was around Apr 10. But a lot of times I managed to get plant out by the 4th week of March. So I think if you start within a week or so, you will have 8 weeks to plant out. That is more common approach. My LF date here (PNW) is similar , with the difference that weather is not going to warm up enough by April, although there might not be danger of frost.

Happy 2014 Grow Season to All !


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Start date: ????
Zone: 6a
Last Frost: May 10

Plan on starting seeds somewhere between March 1 and March 14. I like to have them ready to go around the last week of April just in case I can get them in early. 14 day forecasts are pretty good anymore although you can get bit every once in awhile.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Disregard this winter, we have not had -17 for many winters in the row. LOL
Currently I have Mohamed and Minibel growing indoor, started Jan 1. Have nice sturdy plants which have started their second set of leaves.
Peppers and eggplants are going to be started on Feb 14. Tomatoes will go March 1-14. Hmm, our last frost is somewhere mid to late May so traditionally people plant their tomatoes on Memorial day weekend. I have had good success with planting in WOW around May 1 and general planting May 15 with an eye on forecast.
The most current problem is that I have about 80 ¨must haves¨ varieties and space for no more than 70 plants.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Eye On the Forecast:

Two weeks forecasts can be very helpful in getting a head start.
If it indicated that the temperature will be nice two weeks before leading to your LF date, you can take a small calculated risk and go ahead. But always be prepared for the worst. This is one of the ways we can benefit from science and technology.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

I'm in southern CT (Z6). I usually start tomatoes the first week of April, That gives me time to get the pepper seedlings potted up so I can use the seed starting trays and lights for toms. Last frost date is early May. I try to get the tomatoes in the ground mid-May and peppers on Memorial Day weekend. I just had rotator cuff surgery, so hopefully I'll be ready for all that.
John A


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Start Date: March 1st
Zone: 7b Charlotte, NC
Last frost Date: don't kow
Varieties:

Rutgers
Early girl
purple cherokee

I am not very good with varieties. I am looking for some very tasty tomatoes. Please recommand me if there are good ones.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Last frost date (50% risk of frost) is April 29th for zone 6b. Will start indoors on the first week of March and depending on the weather put them in the ground during the first or second week of May. I will take a full week to harden them off before putting them into the ground.

Is it smart to push the transplant date for peppers back an additional two weeks past the LF to reduce plant stress? I've never done it before but have noted people in this thread doing so?

If you know your 50% frost date, I've linked a calculator to help you know when to start seeds and when to transplant seedlings into the ground.

smithmal

Here is a link that might be useful: Seed starting/Seedling Transplant Calculator

This post was edited by smithmal on Tue, Feb 4, 14 at 14:14


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

ast frost date (50% risk of frost) is April 29th for zone 6b.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Smithmal

I think the LF date normally means the 10% risk. 50% is too risky. It is like flipping a coin. The difference between the two is about 2 weeks. Again, it will depend on the season and the long term forecast.

One more important thing is HARDENING OFF your plants before putting them in the ground (Or container). If you don't take time and do it right, your plants will get shocked and may become stressed and that will take them a longer time to be overcome. But I think, once are trained/hardened off, they can handle cool weather better. JMO

PS: I am going to start my seeds mid -late February. That will give me 6-8 weeks, depending on the weather.

This post was edited by seysonn on Wed, Feb 12, 14 at 1:04


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

My peppers always take longer to germinate and longer to get going, heat and light same as for tomatoes. I have done it for several years and it works well for me. I do not plant them any earlier than tomatoes though but peppers and eggplants tend to sit smaller sized for while so less of issue than overgrown tomato.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

After reading a lot of informative comments/posts, now I am going to start germinating my tomato seeds late Feb/early March. I dont like ending up with leggy/tall seedlngs. So another 2 more weeks to wait.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Z5a, Northwest Il. Last frost date 5/15 (but usually later) I just started my sweet peppers and have them on a heat mat. I till start the tomato seeds March 15. I usually start them earlier and they just get leggy. I don't use any additional light other than south facing windows.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

@ Ryse,
you have a long waiting time. Where in the NORTHWEST are you ? I am in Seattle area.
I have started just a few pioneers. But I will start germinating the bulk of them first week of March. That should give me about 6 weeks till plant out.

This post was edited by seysonn on Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 8:11


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Ok/ I am getting close to MAJOR germinating action. It should happen ONE week from today. I might need to get my 3rd T8 system. There goes another 20 bucks. But that will ne my last expense. I already have potting material, pots, fertilizer, seeds.

How are you guys doing so far ? I have a Cherokee Purple and Siberia with true leaves as pioneers. And I have couple more in starter mix. But there is much more to come later.

Happy Germinating !


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Zone 7a, central Maryland
Frost free date (90%) is May 7
Start date: February 16
Varieties:

Mortgage Lifter and Azoychka
I also started my hot peppers (orange habanero, Caribbean red habanero, tabasco & Chinese 5 color) at the same time.

I will start some green zebra tomatoes as soon as the seeds come in the mail. And the sweet bell peppers (Orange bells and California Wonder) at around the same time. :)

Angie


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Start date: 1/12/14
Zone: 8B - Southeast Texas
LFD: 2/22 with 50% probability

I"ve got Rutgers, Red Currant Cherry, Roma, and Cherokee Purple.

The chart from Johnny's says that I should set my plants out the 28th of Feb., I don't know if I want to do that lol. The weather here is schizophrenic and I'm not sure I want to risk it. I've got 3 of each type except CP, only 2 of those. A nearby gardner says he and his wife won't set theirs out until the 2nd week of March. I'm thinking since he's been gardening in the area for 40+ years, I'll follow his lead lol and I don't have any back ups if I kill one. I'm restarting gardening after many, many moons of not doing it, and in a totally new area so this first season will be learned on a curve!

~Viv


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Happy Germinating Everyone !

Finally comes the moment of action. Today I sowed my tomato seeds. I usually germinate in paper towel, but this time, because there were quite few of them (about 15 variety) , I decided to direct sow in starter mix. The flat is placed on heating pad right now and will be there until they sprout. It should take about 5 - 7 days, I think.

If my plant out is going to be on/about April 15, I will have 6 weeks til then. I think this is going to be fine.

WHAT I SOWED:

-- sungold PLUS 3 more unnamed cherries:

SILVERY FIR TREE ...GREEN ZEBRA ...COSTOLUTO ...STRIPY(made up name) ...MATINA ...BLOODY BUTCHER ...EARLY TREAT(hyb) ..BUSH STEAK (hyb) .. LEGEND ... SILETZ ... CHEROKEE PURPLE .. SIBERIAN ... PINEAPPLE

I have few DETs and EARLY varieties there. I intend to plant some of the smaller ones in pots.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Good luck Seysonn! I envy you and others for getting such an early start. Last year I started seeds around the middle of March. That was the latest I had ever started them. It was the first time I used my popup greenhouse and transferred to it as soon as they sprouted. I had to move them in at night for a while and a few times later when the nighttime temperatures dipped. It worked really well though and I actually had to push it a little as some of the early sprouters were getting a little large and I was running out of room. I might actually hold off another week this year the way the spring is looking right now. Might be a very cool first three weeks of March.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

I think the last frost here in Los Angeles is March 1st... I just transplanted my indoor seedlings (~5 weeks old) into their containers right now. We're expecting "heavy" rain tomorrow so I didn't water them, will just let the rain give them a good watering =) (heavy rain for LA is not very heavy at all)


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

whosurtomato ... yeah, I understand abou the room stuff. when is your statistical LF date?
I have a cold frame, for just in case. It will depends on the weather around April 1st. I might be able to to start hardening them off by then.

Good for you, winstella. You are all set to plant out. We are just seeing highs in low 50s. It will be a while around here.

Good luck to you all and have a productive season.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

seysonn,

Average last frost date is May 10. Last year I planted out a week before that and had to baby them through a hard frost/light freeze. It's highly variable though, some years it's well before that but I don't think it's worth pushing it more than a week or 10 days with the ground temps being pretty cool. The raised beds and black plastic I plan on using this year might allow me to go a little earlier than that if the long range forecast looks good.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Whosurtomato, ..

Probably you would want to start mid April. You are about 4 weeks behind us, here in Seattle WA area. But your summer will warm up much faster. We usually have a loooong rainy spring weather here. Then again, weather is not all that certain and predictable.
Weather permitting, I am going to build a portable hoop to go over my 3' x 6' beds. This is in addition to a 3' x 6' cold frame

Happy Gardening !


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I'm so excited to start growing this year....a first ever! I live in 4B, last frost date is 20th of May so I think I will start growing 5 weeks before? On April 15th. Growing Peppers and Tomatoes and Jericho Romaine lettuce (which I don't think I have to grow early but might anyways?).


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Was that LF date of 5/20 a 50% chance or 10% chance? Doesn't seem much later than our 50% (nearest station to NW of me is May 16 - nearest SE of here is Apr 30th so I figure May 7). Going by 10% chance of 32 F or lower, our dates are May 18 and June 1, I am often tempted to set out tomatoes in mid-May but haven't in the 6 years since we've lived here, weather has not cooperated even if it was nice earlier in May, so I shoot for May 23-June 1 to set out, I haven't actually kept track of the last/first frost dates at my location but I should.

I'd say in 4b you'd be setting out tomatoes the first week of June if you're lucky, peppers maybe a week later - you're going to get earlier frost in fall than we do too, so not much time for peppers to ripen. I'd suggest growing your peppers in pots, and starting them soon - say mid-March along with your lettuce which can go out early in spring. Then wait (I know it's hard) to start your tomatoes in late March. I hope you have short DTM varieties?

I'll probably start my peppers this weekend when it's going to warm up to mid-40's (seasonable) and I can do it in the garage. DD wants me to do broccoli and spring onions too. Tomatoes are going to wait a week or so - latest I've ever started them but it looks like spring might be late this year. I've got some short DTM varieties on order from Sand Hill, and I'm going to try milk jug cloches and low tunnel to get them out by late May anyway even if it's still cool. Last year was a real pain to get them hardened off, the weather was hot and dry then rainy and cool.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Normally, I think, when we talk about LF date, it is the 10% probability thereafter. A 50% is two risky, just like flipping a coin. Unless you check the extended forecast and be on the look out.

Even the LF date means little. Example: In this part of NW Washington State, our average LF date is Apr 1 to 10. But then, the lows are around 38F. So, although there is no chance of frost by April 15, but with night lows in 35-40, tomatoes, peppers are not going to grow much. So here comes Cold Frame, Hoops, plastic ground cover for the rescue.

This post was edited by seysonn on Thu, Mar 6, 14 at 15:38


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

That's what I was saying - a LFD of 5/20 in zone 4 sounded awfully close to our zone 5b 50% LFD of 5/16. That's why I advised to start tomatoes around end of March at earliest (Apr 15 may be OK, but also might be a week or so late depending on when they can actually be set out - remembering need to harden off, using cloches, etc.?, balancing the possibility of late frost with the DTM and first frost date), but peppers take longer to germinate and lettuce can go out earlier so they shouldn't be started at the same time as tomatoes.

Most people wait 2 weeks after LFD (10% or maybe 30% prob, as you say 50% is a gamble) to set out tomatoes, I personally wait another week for peppers even though I start them earlier. So if your LFD is mid-Apr, you could set out late April but still be prepared to cover on some cold nights that are above freezing.

Our "normal" highs are mid-40's now, with nights in the 20's. By Memorial Day the averages are near 70, but still have nights below 50, tomatoes do OK but peppers (and eggplant which I don't grow b/c they are so picky) really don't like that at all, so I don't put them out until June.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Thanks guys. Very new to all of this of course. I am growing Purple Cherokee, Caspian Pinks, Sweeties and Yellow Zebra's. Also growing King of the North Peppers and Jericho lettuce. I wonder if maybe I could wrap the plants in like a clear bag since I am growing them in pots anyways.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

I plan on starting my tomato seeds indoors around Mar 21, and our last frost date is around May 15 in the foothills just outside Medford, OR (had to split difference between warmer nearby valley airport date and colder Ashland climate site date). This will be the first seeds I've started indoors with a growing light, so I'm pretty excited!

There's a lot of good last frost date talk on this thread, and it looks like there are posters from all over the country, so I wanted to share a link to these frost date graphics that I think are really cool. I attached an image of one of the graphics. Check out the bubble chart and see how long the growing season lengths are on the shores of the Great Lakes compared to just inland. What a moderating influence the water has!

Here is a link that might be useful: Cool Interactive Chart for U.S. Last Frost Dates and Growing Season Lengths


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

My last frost date is 5/20.
Zone 5B
We started seeds in December! And I actually have 2 plants, planted outside with plant protectors on them. Just to see how they do. We have had exceptionally warm weather this year. I have San Marzano, Booty, Siletz, Italian, Beef Master, Mortgage Lifter and Peace Cherry.
I'll try to get some pictures this weekend. With the warm weather, I was able to set them outside every day, and then bring them in at night. So they got some nice sun and a little breeze to toughen them up.
It's that last frost/freeze that gets us, usually in Sept. So if I can get an early start, I'm going for it!


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Like seysonn said, the USDA hardiness zones aren't created equal. It just gives average lows - so you know how tender a plant will survive the winter. Has nothing to do with growing season. I get about 150 days, first frost often by Oct 1, last frost close to yours (somewhere in mid-May). But nights are still cool and I'll bet you get a lot more sun down in AZ zone 5b than we do here in CT, in early May and late Sept!

It's very hard to wait to start seeds until late March - the latest I've done is March 13 or so, I think I might wait a bit longer than that this year, unless we have another warm day. Starting peppers tomorrow since we're supposed to have 1 day of seasonable temps in the 40's before it goes below freezing again. Single digits last night, 14 degrees at 7AM. Now THAT does make me want to hold off - not to mention the foot+ of snow we still have on the ground!

Oh, just looked at latest forecast - we could get to 47 on Tuesday but back down to 34 on Wed with 70% chance of snow, so I might have another shot at it if it doesn't get to the 42 predicted for tomorrow (I really want to fill my trays in the garage, not get potting soil all over the laundry room - even though we call it the mud room!).

It has been much colder than normal here - the maple syrup producers usually tap the trees in Feb, but are just starting now - hoping a few warm days will get the sap flowing.


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I can't believe this. Our 10 day forecast shows highs up to 63F, ( average 57F). The lows average is 43F.

I hope this trend will continue til the end of March.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Your low average is our high average - and we're hoping to hit that today before it goes back down again. I don't trust 10-day forecasts, but it's showing another snowstorm at the end of that 10 days (and now this coming Wed looks like a mix, with snow on Monday and Thurs as well). I hope NE can get out of this pattern in time for spring - but first day of spring might bring snow!

suvoth - what size pots are you using? You are going to need huge tubs for those tomatoes - 15 gal each would be good, though maybe Sweeties (cherries?) could go in 5 gal. All will need pruning and staking. Best to go over to Container Gardening for help.

King of the North is supposed to be early (70DTM), according to Fedco, but I grew it a couple of years and never got anything of size off it - and no ripe ones in over 100 days. Maybe in a pot you can bring inside (5 gal should be OK) you can get them to size. I found the smaller peppers do better than bells in our short season.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Looks like for the next 2 weeks or so everyone east of the Rockies will average below normal. Towards the end of the month warmth starts to return to some of those parts of the US but the Great Lakes region to the Ohio Valley and into the Northeast look to remain below normal. West of the Rockies looks to be very warm an if anyone were to push planting dates the Southwest and along the Pacific Coast looks to be a good bet. Not all good news for those folks as the drought would continue to worsen. This isn't set in stone but the ridge in the Pacific is making a come back and pretty much the pattern we have seen for the winter looks to continue for a while longer.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

But, folks < Don't let the current weather and temperatures to discourage you. Keep on keeping on. Spring and summer are inevitable.

Sow the seeds and keep the hope alive.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Next week seeds get started under lights.
Tomatoes:
Parks Better Bush ISI
Burpees 4th of July
Delicious

Peppers:
Sweet Banana
Anaheim

Key to peppers is heat during and after germination
Key to tomatoes is heat during but not after germination.

Now is also time to start refrigerating Elephant garlic, regular spring garlic and potato onions to be ready to get up and go, once we can work the ground to get them in. Start sweet potatoes about mid April inside (for slips from last years little squirts that stored real good - Jewel I think; so I am going to use them again and this year hope for better size).

(Frost out here is about mid April, last killing frost is mid to end of May, "officially" but I am in the heart of the metro heat island; so I cheat a bit.)

FWIW if you are having trouble getting peppers in the North Country, try the two named above. Both short enough season and really dependable fruiters.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Yes, the non-bell peppers seem to yield better - though I have always picked bananas and Anaheims green. Trouble is (as a market grower) people around here think if it's not a bell it must be hot. I've got cases full of pickled peppers in the basement, and bags in the freezer from what didn't sell!

How do you grow sweet potatoes in zone 4? (I realize that's a Vegetable forum question, but you can email me - DH would love to grow them).

I start my peppers on heat mats but then take them off after germination. I don't use heat on the tomatoes at all (but start them in 67 degree house).

Didn't get the peppers started today and actually decided to wait until Tuesday - more important to get spinach, kale, etc. cool weather stuff started ASAP.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

ajsmama I have 7.5 gallon pots for my tomatoes..I know it's not ideal, but I'll be vigilant on watering them :)


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Go check out Container Gardening forum, I don't know about the cherries (never seen those pruned to single stem, you might be able to keep 2-3) but you are going to have to prune the larger ones to a single stem to keep in that small a pot. Use well-draining mix (NOT MG Moisture Control), and keep fertilized - every time you water, you're going to wash nutrients out. Peppers will take less water than tomatoes. It's a challenge.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Yeah, I've been reading up quite a lot on it and there seems to be a lot of disagreement on what size container to grow in but I'll persevere lol


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

7.5 gallon is more than one cubic foot, an more than some bagged soil. IMO, it is enough to support a normal tomato plant, with proper pruning and mainteance.

Also, keep in mind that the soil is a medium. What plants need is the nutrients and the moisture. In a hydroponic system there is no soil. Water is the medium. So as long as the plants get what they need, the amount of medium is secondary.
The challenge here, in container gardening, is how to provide moisture and nutrients constantly. That is why having a bigger container is advantageous, as a matter of convenience for the grower. In ground planting is even more convenient than big container.

Another point to consider is that tomato is an annual plant with 5 to 6 months life for most of us. It is unlike a house plant that will be there for years. Even if at the end of season it becomes root bound, it is not critical.
JMO


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Thanks Seysonn...I guess we'll see! :D


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Hi all...a little late with my pics.
Ajsmama, YES we have lots of sun here in AZ, which help tremendously, along with the unusual warm weather we've had all winter. We are at 6000', so it can get below zero at night, and of course we get snow. Not much this year though.
Here are my plants so far...


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Another


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Started peppers yesterday. I have some old tomato seeds that usually take a good while to germinate so I will probably start them this weekend. Extended forecast still showing lows a few degrees either side of freezing till the first week of April. Late springs are one of my least favorite things.


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Started tomato seeds today, hoping for plant out May 7-10.

Neves Azorian Red-6
Italian Heirloom-6
Big Beef OP-6
Pantano Romenesco-6
Opalka-12
San Marzano Redorta-6
Anna Russian-6
Armenian-6
Prudens Purple-6
Stupice-9
Kellogg's Breakfast-6
Cherokee Purple-6
Green Zebra-6
Yellow Brandywine-6
Black Krim-6
German Pink-6
German-6
Big Boy-12
Rutgers-12
Roma-12


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RE: Starting by Zone , Last Frost

Good luck !
I think you are right on the target. You have 6 weeks, which is about average. I started mine over 3 weeks ago and have 3 more weeks til plant out. Our weather is unseasonably warm right now according to 10 days forecast. I hope that it stays this way. Today I worked on my raised beds, turned them over to let them aerate and absorb some solar heat. I found some worms activity, which is pretty good.


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