Oops too soon on my tomatoes?

Brayton, IA(Zone 5a)

Hello Everyone,

I got bitten by the gardening bug last year for the first time but my seedlings ended up failing and ended up having to buy a bunch of plants. This year I may have been too worried about failing again that I planted too early, I was just trying to get some opinions on how bad I goofed this year. Im in zone 5a with a last frost date about april 20th. I have about 30 romanesco italia broccoli plants about 4 inches tall, I think my timing isn't too far off with those but what do I know? lol My 60 or so pepper plants are just now starting to form the first set of true leafs, while some are just now germinating is my timing ok on those? I started my tomato seeds last Saturday and my romanesco all popped up this morning am I going to have a jungle on my hands before I can plant out? Because I may have went overboard and have 2 72 cell trays of tomato plants containing romanesco, black cherry, and Amana Orange. I really don't have much of a plan on what I am going to do with all this stuff, you would think I own acres...I dont. I live in town my yard isn't that big and I talked my brother into letting me plant his more spacious country yard this year too. im just concerned on how big this stuff is going to be by the time I can plant out having 2 months to go still until my last frost. My basement isnt very big. So any suggestions at all are appreciated.

Thank you,

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

Post your question to DGer IO1 in a dmail, and ask her to reply to you here on your post, so others in your area may benefit from the response.

Susan is in your area, and a prolific tomato grower, with excellent veggie gardening knowledge.


Brayton, IA(Zone 5a)

Thank you Linda, I will do that.

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

Your peppers sound about right. The tomatoes sound a little early. I'd slow the tomatoes down by growing them where it's cooler. They grow slower and stouter if you keep them under 60F for a couple of weeks or so.

Brayton, IA(Zone 5a)

Thank you for the reply Doug I didnt know that but certainly need to slow them down a bit.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

You can also hold back on fertilizers and don't water them until they wilt. That, with the cooler temps, will slow down the growth and give you stouter tomato plants.

What kind of peppers are you growing?

Kankakee, IL(Zone 5b)

my frost date is June 1 and I started tomatoes last month LOL. You'll probably be fine they'll just needed transplanted into bigger pots. I did this last year too. I just can't wait lol

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Ryan - Count back 4 - 6 weeks from your last frost date for tomatoes, and about 6 - 8 weeks for peppers. I start mine at seven day intervals for three consecutive weeks incase we get a frost in May.

I don't like my seedlings to get too tall before they are transplanted to the garden. Once they have four true leaves they transplant nicely. Each seed is sown and grown in it's own small pot, then carefully set into a prepared hole in the garden - no transplant shock.

Brayton, IA(Zone 5a)

Thank you for all of the replies everyone.

Lisac I have Anaheim, Chinese five color, Tam jalapenos, Bulls Horn, and Spanish Mammoths going at the moment.

Sweetie i couldn't wait either, I just hope it doesn't come back to bite me having plants growing with the 6 inches of snow we just got makes me feel a little better and makes winter a little more tolerable lol

Honeybee yeah definitely started too early then. I started the tomatoes last weekend all of the Romanesco seeds popped up and are 2-3 inches already. The Black Cherry are still germinating with 2 or 3 new ones a day and the Amana Orange just came up today. I should have spaced them out like you did instead of all at once. Trial and error I guess. I suppose whatever I can't use or get rid of maybe the homeless shelters in town could use them. Considering I can keep them alive that long lol

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

iowagardening - don't beat yourself up about it :) The cheapest aspect of home gardening is the purchasing of seeds. Just buy a few more seeds and start over.

With climate change, perhaps spring will come a little earlier this year, and you will be able to salvage some of your little plants. Tomatoes, especially, are hard to kill (unless they get a disease). If they get *leggy* remove all the lower leaves, and plant them as deep as possible. They will grow roots along the stems below ground. OR - remove all the lower leaves, dig a shallow trench, and lay the stems sideways with the root ball attached. The stems will grow roots. Don't worry about the leaves, they will reach for the sky by themselves.

How do I know this? I was a beginner too, a long, long time ago :)

Alexandria, VA

You can use wall-o-waters to plant some of them out early (or all of them if you want to buy dozens of wall-o-waters). I'm in zone 7a and have the same last frost date of April 15th, but using the wall-o-waters I'm able to plant my tomatos in the beginning of March and my peppers in mid March. That gives me room inside to then start my cukes, squash, etc.

Here's a tomato in a wall-o-water from last year - this pic was taken in the beginning of April and the plant was just a wee little seedling when I planted it outside in early March - as you can see it grew quite well in it's warm little home. By the time I take the teepees off in late April the plants have grown way out the top of it.

Thumbnail by ladysoth
Delhi, LA

Walls of water work reallly good but I wrap my cages thirty inchs high with six mil visqueen and set a galllon jug of water painted black by the tomato. If it is going to be really cold, I wad up newspaper and cram them around and on top of the plants.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

My last frost date is about 1 month before Ryan's and I'm in zone 8a. Weird

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I found 12 WALL O WATER in my garage. I did use hem only once ... but half of them are new.
D-mail if interested. I want to give them away at a great bargain to a gardener that could use them !!

Thumbnail by drthor Thumbnail by drthor Thumbnail by drthor
Kankakee, IL(Zone 5b)

my last frost date is later than his and he further North than me... weird. It might be lake effect that makes my frost date later

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