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Tomatoes: First Transplant

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Ozark
Ozark, MO
(Zone 6a)

April 7, 2012
2:21 PM

Post #9073306

I'm far behind some here, but right on schedule for my climate zone. My tomato seeds were planted indoors on March 15, three to each cell of plastic egg cartons filled with Jiffy Mix. I'm keeping it simple this year, only growing F3 generation Strains #1, #3, and #4 of the Dr. Wyche's Yellow x German Red Strawberry cross I did in 2009, plus Big Beef Hybrid and Ozark Pink Hybrid.

I've done the first transplant, into 3" plastic squares in flats filled with MiracleGro Potting Mix. I do this first transplant very early, often before the first two real leaves have formed, because there are three seedlings per egg-carton cell and I raise ALL of them for spares and to give away to friends and family. This first transplant is microsurgery, but I've found that the seedlings do fine this way.

These tomatoes will go outside for hardening off the last week of April and be transplanted into the garden the first week of May.

Thumbnail by Ozark
Click the image for an enlarged view.

1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 7, 2012
8:19 PM

Post #9073628

I just potted up some very small seedlings, like the ones you described. Some have 1 set of true leaves and some have just the cotolydens. It goes so fast and is so easy I wish I'd done all my plants when they were this size. Now that they're done I'm wondering where to put them. Do you put your's right back under the lights? I'm asking because the roots are so small Im afraid they won't be able to stay hydrated in my GH. Under the lights the temps get to 90* sometimes. But I'm not turning the A/C on for plants!

ATM they are setting in my Laundry room it gets a good amount of light, and stays a comfortable temp. Tomorrow the larger plants are going outside or back under lights but I'm not sure what to do with these? Thanks.

Yours look great I'm wondering what your "next generation" will bring in tomato land.
Ozark
Ozark, MO
(Zone 6a)

April 7, 2012
8:39 PM

Post #9073648

"Do you put your's right back under the lights? I'm asking because the roots are so small Im afraid they won't be able to stay hydrated in my GH. Under the lights the temps get to 90* sometimes."
--------------------------------------------

No, I don't have that situation. I start seeds indoors in egg cartons and try to give them all the heat I can, though I don't use a heat mat. While in the egg cartons, the sprouting seeds and tiny seedlings live on top of our water heater, on top of the 'fridge, on a sunny window sill, or wherever I think they'll be the warmest at any given time. The heat is especially vital to get peppers sprouted, and they're in the same egg cartons as the tomatoes.

Once the seedlings are all up and getting kind of leggy, I do the first transplant into 3" square cells filled with MiracleGro Planting Mix. They do transplant very easy at that early stage, don't they? I use a pencil and then my finger to poke a hole very deep into the MiracleGro, and plant the small tomato seedlings as deep as I can. THEN they go under lights for the first time.

My light table is set up in my basement-level carpenter shop. I keep the heat vents closed in there and the room maintains a temp of 60 to 62 this time of year, so I get slow growth and stocky seedlings. No problem with plants dehydrating at those temps, though I do have to watch for mold and "rub it out" if it starts growing on the surface of the planting mix.
hornstrider
Hutto, TX

April 8, 2012
7:21 AM

Post #9073976

Ozark...it sounds like you have your seed starting down to a science. Good job. I have a question for you. Several months ago I posted about my super plant. You looked at the pictures, and suggested that I save the seeds, and grow again. Well I did that, but the original plant was a Early Girl Bush a hybred. I started a few plants, and planted one super plant. It is approx three feet tall, and loaded w/ tomato's. It looks like the tomato's will be large ones not cherries like most "volunteers"...because that is really what this plant is ...a cultivated volunteer. What can I expect from this plant? I can't wait to pick one of these super maters...and suppose these are really good, and I saved seeds, and grew again?...
cue_chik
Palm Coast, FL
(Zone 9a)

April 8, 2012
7:25 AM

Post #9073982

Good looking starts! I've never attempted to grow tomatoes from seed, always bought seedlings. Is it difficult to start them from seed?
Ozark
Ozark, MO
(Zone 6a)

April 8, 2012
7:47 AM

Post #9074011

"What can I expect from this plant? I can't wait to pick one of these super maters...and suppose these are really good, and I saved seeds, and grew again?..."
----------------------------------------------

I believe quite a few good new OP tomato varieties have been "discovered" by growing and saving seeds from a volunteer. In growing seeds from a hybrid, it's a longshot that you'll get tomatoes with desirable characteristics. The odds are against that happening, but it's certainly not impossible. The volunteer you're growing now is of the unstable F2 generation in which genes pair up at random, and there's "jist no tellin'" what it'll be like. hehe.

If it's a good one, by all means save seeds from it and try to select for and stabilize those good characteristics next year and beyond. I think it's already a good sign that your green tomatoes are large and haven't gone back to cherries.
araness
Auburn, AL
(Zone 8a)

April 8, 2012
8:31 AM

Post #9074051

they look great!

Cue_Chik seeds aren't difficult to start at all but several items make the process much easier. If I had to pick the two things needed most (to make life easier in gardening) it would be a heat mat and lights...narrow it down and I'd pick the lights! DG members will be more than glad to help you along the process so you can learn from our mistakes. LOL of which there have been many!
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 8, 2012
8:39 AM

Post #9074056

Ozark, thanks for the info. This is not the usual situation for me. I'll put them under the lights in the cool room, I had thought that area was closed for the season. Lol
cue_chik
Palm Coast, FL
(Zone 9a)

April 8, 2012
9:15 AM

Post #9074112

Thanks araness! I think this coming Fall, I will try to grow some from seed!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

April 8, 2012
2:50 PM

Post #9074426

Ozark - your method of pricking out tomatoes is the same as mine. I posted about it here:

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1249169/

So far I haven't lost a single tomato seedling doing it this way.
Sequee
Carmel, NY
(Zone 6b)

April 14, 2012
12:34 PM

Post #9082309

I put my first 2 seedlings out today. They are in 10 gallon pots with sleeves, so they should be ok, unless we have snow of a hard frost. They are on the patio, though, so while it would be a struggle, I could get them into the basement in an emergency!

The first one is Explosion and the second is Stupicke. The next photos are of the next batches waiting in the wings. The first shot is 2 more of the Stupice and 2 more of the Explosion, and the other is Amish Orange and Amazon Chocolate. All the others are ks or more behind these. Amongs those are 4 OZx3. I am excited to see what we will get this year!

Thumbnail by Sequee   Thumbnail by Sequee   Thumbnail by Sequee   Thumbnail by Sequee
Click an image for an enlarged view.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

April 14, 2012
1:08 PM

Post #9082345

I set out the first six transplants this morning of "Monica". There are more indoors waiting to harden off.

drthor

drthor
Irving, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 14, 2012
3:37 PM

Post #9082518

Sequee - great job !
Do I see some flower buds in one of your tomato plant?

I normally remove the flower buds until the tomato is in the ground outside. But I have a longer season that you do.
Do you normally keep the flower buds?

I do remove the flowers, because I rather give all the energy of the plant on growing roots and get stronger instead than concentrate on making fruits at this point.

I am just curious ... You never know if one day I will move up North too.
bmdoss
Fremont Hills, MO

April 15, 2012
5:03 PM

Post #9083850

[quote="Ozark"]I'm far behind some here, but right on schedule for my climate zone. My tomato seeds were planted indoors on March 15, three to each cell of plastic egg cartons filled with Jiffy Mix. I'm keeping it simple this year, only growing F3 generation Strains #1, #3, and #4 of the Dr. Wyche's Yellow x German Red Strawberry cross I did in 2009, plus Big Beef Hybrid and Ozark Pink Hybrid.

I've done the first transplant, into 3" plastic squares in flats filled with MiracleGro Potting Mix. I do this first transplant very early, often before the first two real leaves have formed, because there are three seedlings per egg-carton cell and I raise ALL of them for spares and to give away to friends and family. This first transplant is microsurgery, but I've found that the seedlings do fine this way.

These tomatoes will go outside for hardening off the last week of April and be transplanted into the garden the first week of May.
[/quote]

Hello from across 65 :-) Whats this Ozark Pink Hybrid I have been looking for a good pink tomato..
Ozark
Ozark, MO
(Zone 6a)

April 15, 2012
5:29 PM

Post #9083872

"Hello from across 65 :-) Whats this Ozark Pink Hybrid I have been looking for a good pink tomato."
---------------------------------------

Hey, you're only about 10 miles away. That's the closest I've ever known anyone on DG to be to us - howdy.

Ozark Pink hybrid was developed by U. of Arkansas at Fayetteville in about 1988 - it's a medium-size, mid-season, highly productive pink. I've never grown it before, but it's supposed to be designed especially to do well in the hot, humid, poor soil, bug-and-fungi infested Ozarks, so it sounds promising.

If you want to try it, I'm raising extra seedlings and can give you a couple.
Sequee
Carmel, NY
(Zone 6b)

April 16, 2012
4:20 PM

Post #9085193

I usually take the flowers / buds off, too, but sometimes I decide to just see what develops. I have way more seeldings/tomatoes than any one person needs, so sacrificing quantity for a few early tomatoes is worth it to me. And these are an
early variety, so why not go for it? If it wants to give me a few tomatoes in early
July then poop-out early, I'll be ok with that. Especially since Stupicke is not a
big favorite of mine, and I have 4 seedlings of them! I will let you know how they
fare.

drthor

drthor
Irving, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 16, 2012
7:33 PM

Post #9085467

Yes, I agree ... Great idea.
Let me know what will be the best plant, ok?
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 16, 2012
9:36 PM

Post #9085589

Sequee-my experience with that variety is that it will produce and keep doing so no matter what. Lol ive always been told that leaving the blossoms on takes away from the root growth. I have done it a few times and never noticed a difference in the long run.
Sequee
Carmel, NY
(Zone 6b)

April 18, 2012
7:14 AM

Post #9087326

Totally off topic: drthor - you should get a chuckle out of this... When I lived in Paducah we used to do our Christmas shopping in Irving because it was the big city!!!
HopeSue
Laingsburg, MI

May 21, 2012
6:45 AM

Post #9131654

This is my first season of planting herbs, flowers, and a variety of tomatoes from seed. The flowers (marigolds and zinnias) were planted April 30th, but I was very late in ordering and receiving the tomato seeds, and they were planted around the first week of May. The tomato seedlings are well on to their first set of true leaves, and I have started setting them outside, increasing each day by two hours. Would I be sealing their fate if I were to plant them in the garden in one week, even if I did pot them up?

If I did not pot up the tomatoes, would the risk be losing them to an immature root system? They are still in the Jiffy peat pots in which they were originally planted. Should all seedlings be potted up before planting outside?

Thumbnail by HopeSue
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Ozark
Ozark, MO
(Zone 6a)

May 21, 2012
7:44 AM

Post #9131741

HopeSue - I think your very young seedlings will be fine in the garden. You'll just have to remember that they're more vulnerable for awhile because of their size, and do the best you can to protect them.

I'd provide them with some partial shade and protection from the wind. Also, I'd plant each of them inside a ring cut from a plastic cup and set into the ground a half-inch or so - that's to keep cutworms from getting them and maybe to discourage robins and such from giving them a fatal nip. Plant them as deep as possible in the ground so they'll grow roots from their stems (and also so they don't stick up so high to be attacked by elements and critters). Be even more careful than usual to give them even watering - tiny seedlings don't tolerate droughts or floods well.

I've got the same situation as you - even more so. I planted my tomato seedlings indoors in the middle of March and transplanted them to the garden the first of May. They're knee-high now and some are forming bud clusters - I thought I was done planting tomatoes this year. Then last week a friend here on DG offered me seeds of a variety I just HAD to have, and now I've got five tiny seedlings just sprouted in Jiffy Mix in an egg carton. But our freezes are over, there's no reason to hold them indoors for long, and as soon as they've got two permanent leaves I'll be doing micro-surgery transplanting straight into the garden while protecting them as best I can.
HopeSue
Laingsburg, MI

May 21, 2012
8:00 AM

Post #9131778

Wonderful! Thank you for your help! Actually my worst garden offender is my six-month old chocolate lab. She is a very sweet but naughty dogger. I believe our cats have taken to my garden as their litter box when outside, and she has taken a liking to their deposits.

Do you use the sytofoam egg cartons and/or paper? Good idear. I am so tickled to learn of the endless techniques for containers for seedlings.

Planting everything from seed has been such a gas for me and more rewarding than plants could ever be!

So how long of a season do you have there in Missouri?
Ozark
Ozark, MO
(Zone 6a)

May 21, 2012
1:05 PM

Post #9132188

"Do you use the sytofoam egg cartons and/or paper? So how long of a season do you have there in Missouri?"
-------------------------------

Styrofoam egg cartons - the ones that have recesses for the eggs on both the top and bottom. I cut those halves apart, cut the flaps off, and drill a small drain hole near the bottom of each cell. Then I glue those down, two-by-two, to bases of 1/2" plywood - a drop of superglue on the bottom of each egg cell works fine. Using a ballpoint pen, I number the cells in each paired egg carton - A 1-thru-24, B 1-thru-24, and so forth. Then I make a spreadsheet list in Excel of what I planted in each cell. When it's time to transplant up, I carefully scoop all the Jiffy Mix out of each cell with a spoon of the right size, work the seedlings' roots apart, and transplant them all.

Here's a picture of what these looked like a couple of months ago, before my 'taters were even in the ground.

Our average dates of last and first frosts here are April 15 and October 15. This year was so unusually warm I could have transplanted tomatoes and peppers into the garden in late March, and a lot of people did so their gardens are 'way ahead of mine. I didn't take the chance, though, and put warm-season plants out the first week of May as usual.

Thumbnail by Ozark
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

May 22, 2012
8:55 AM

Post #9133430

HopeSue,
Plant your seedlings deep, right up to within 1" of the bottom-most leaves...and give them shade so they can get acclimated. Gradually introduce more light, then into full sunshine.

That's a very nice stand of seedlings you've got. Congratulations on Seed Starting 101 -- you PASSED!

Linda
HopeSue
Laingsburg, MI

May 22, 2012
6:02 PM

Post #9134215

Thank you! Can you suggest how I can rig up something to provide shade?
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 23, 2012
5:17 PM

Post #9135746

Sue, you could acclimate them before you put them in the garden. If you have a patio or deck that can provide shade...it might be easier.

Ozark-what type of tomato did you "have to have"?
Sequee
Carmel, NY
(Zone 6b)

May 29, 2012
7:35 AM

Post #9143010

Oz - isn't that brave to put them out tso small? I have a few stragglers myself and daudling about placement. There are soooo many bugs this year, I'm afraid they will be goners their first night out! There are 2 small tomatoes and one small but very full white hab pepper. Each day I start to do the deed, then I back off. I hope yours fare well!
Ozark
Ozark, MO
(Zone 6a)

May 29, 2012
8:32 AM

Post #9143112

"Oz - isn't that brave to put them out tso small?"
------------------------------

Well ... yeah. It seems I was a bit hasty in saying I'd do that.

Those six seedlings still only have the first, temporary leaves but I've transplanted them to 3" x 3" plastic containers. Rushing things, I thought I'd start hardening them off yesterday so I put them out on our deck for a couple of hours. They were in the shade and had plenty of water - but they wilted and nearly died. We've been having record-breaking heat in the 90's, and they didn't like that one bit.

Besides the heat, as you say, there are things in the garden now that would probably kill these little guys right away. So now they're back indoors, perked up again, and I'll let them get to a reasonable size before I try putting them out. You'd think I'd know better than to rush nature, huh?
Sequee
Carmel, NY
(Zone 6b)

May 29, 2012
11:07 AM

Post #9143440

Nah - it's the nature of the beast. Give us an inch...

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