Ask a Question forum: Starting tomato seed w/out lights zone 9

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heidyadams
Jan 20, 2017 4:38 PM CST
Hello!
Is it possible to start tomato seedlings without floresent lights? I have a hoop house in full sun (zone 9b) and I'm wondering if that is sufficient. Everything I read says to start under grow lights.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Jan 20, 2017 4:40 PM CST
I've grown them on a windowsill with no extra lighting, and it's always worked fine. I'd think the hoop house would be even better.
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Jan 20, 2017 5:37 PM CST
Welcome to NGA, @heidyadams !

As long as the temp in your hoop house stays above freezing (which I imagine it does in zone 9 ?), your tomatoes will likely do much better there than under lights indoors, as long as they're in full sunlight. Keep in mind that too hot is just as bad as too cold, and be sure to ventilate appropriately; the air movement from the ventilation will also benefit the seedlings. Smiling
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 20, 2017 6:30 PM CST
HI and welcome, Heidy. I'm down here in Florida, zone 9b and I'd still have to say "it depends upon the weather" if your seedlings will get enough light and stay warm enough in your hoop house. If you get days of clouds and rain, with cool temperatures, or a cold snap with very cold nights for several nights the seedlings will stop growing and take quite a while to start up again.

The days are not very long right now, and tomato seedlings grow much more sturdily with a longer day of around 10hr. full sun once they are on their way.

I have mine in a south-facing window, and still give them some supplemental light for about 5 hours per day at this time of year. I also keep them above 60deg. to keep them growing steadily. I kind of doubt your hoop house will be quite warm enough at night for the next month or so.
Elaine

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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jan 20, 2017 7:51 PM CST
Hedi : Hi !!!
I'm in USDA zone 8A. I dont believe in there last frost date of feb 4th.
You know your climate better.
Better to go by Sunset gardens.
Last year i started my tomatoes in jumbo pony packs on feb 8th.
I took them outside when i went to work , inside when i got home.
I should of started a month or better earlier. Shirmpy when mid - March came around and pony-pacs were allready available in stores !
This year i got a t-5 grow lite and started them on dec 18th. inside the house with a warming pad.
There 2 to 4 inches right now with lites on 17 hours and off 7 hours.
Which ever way you go? I'd say ! Get them planted ASAP !
Hoop house ? Im not sure ? Depends on how well you know your climate.
Farmers hear take the risk of direct planting tomato seeds in February to get the earliest tomatoes. Hoping for no late frost. Crossing Fingers!
Thats the San Juoquin valley.
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Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
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ctcarol
Jan 21, 2017 4:37 PM CST
I'm in zone 10 which gets no frost, but I would try both if I were you...some in pots and some in the hoop house. I have volunteers coming up in the garden already, and I'll bet yours will fare better in the ground as long as they get sun and no frost.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Jan 21, 2017 5:20 PM CST
I'm obviously in a totally different climate -- but last year I put my tomato seedlings out in my unheated hoop house a full month earlier than I normally plant them in the garden, despite having quite a few nights that went down below freezing during that time. The soil gets a much better chance of warming up and holding the warmth inside the HH.
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heidyadams
Jan 21, 2017 7:28 PM CST
Wow! I can't believe all the responses already! This group is amazing! Thank you all! I'm getting some florescent lights set up immediately and I'm going to direct sow after last frost!
Name: ursula
Chile (Zone 9b)
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Mutisia
Jan 22, 2017 11:32 AM CST
Welcome! to NGA, Heidy!

Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jan 22, 2017 12:06 PM CST
You go ๐Ÿ‘ฏ
๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.

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