Ask a Question forum: Planting tomatoes indoors first

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Plainfield, Indiana
Ddawnhallett
Feb 12, 2018 2:35 PM CST
Hi! I'm new to this forum. I would like to try and plant tomatoes by seed this year. I'm in zone 6a. Do you think planting indoors first will produce a strong tomato plant? We try to plant them in big patio containers. Open for advice. :)
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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skits
Feb 12, 2018 3:19 PM CST
I had a cherry tomato plant that I just loved so I saved the seed four years ago and have been sprouting them indoors for the third year now. I have one of those plastic "boxes" with a clear cover and use those tabs that grow when wet. Once it's warm outside (I'm in 5a) I put them on the deck in the sun and bring them in at night. Eventually I put them in larger pots until I can put them in the garden. I've had good luck with the cherries, haven't tried large tomatoes. They need a lot of sun and may get leggy, but I would think since you bury most of the stem anyway that shouldn't hurt. (I do move them around the house to follow the sun LOL)
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Feb 12, 2018 4:10 PM CST
I start mine indoors on a heat mat with a Florescent grow light over them. They may get a little leggy but, as skits pointed out, you bury the stem anyway.

Hardening them off properly (getting them used to outdoor brightness and temperatures) is a must. Otherwise, you will be starting over.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: kathy
Michigan
Zone 4b, near St. Clair MI
Cottage Gardener Lilies Organic Gardener
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katesflowers
Feb 12, 2018 7:07 PM CST
Hi Ddawn, nice to meet you! Welcome fellow gardener !
For many years I have started tomato & pepper seeds in the house. It saves me from bringing soil borne diseases from the nurseries; and, it gives oh so many more variety options. I used to start my seeds about 12 weeks before planting in the garden. Not now. Now I start seeds 8 weeks before planting. The smaller tomato plants produce tomatoes just as soon as the 12 week plants do. Important, garden soil must be warmed up or your seedlings will just sit there until it does warm up. Tomatoes don't grow in cold soil.
"Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing." Shakespeare
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Feb 12, 2018 7:18 PM CST
I plant a couple seeds in my garden (usually in the fall when I am cleaning up and usually seeds from that year's crop). When those seeds germinate, its time to plant.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Jim Goodman
Northeast Louisiana
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Jim41
Feb 16, 2018 5:10 PM CST
The way to keep tomatoes from getting leggy when planted indoors is to put an oscillating fan on them. Set at the lowest speed and far enough away to just keep them moving back and forth.
Jim41
Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds Roses Clematis Lilies Peonies
Region: Canadian Photo Contest Winner: 2017 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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fwmosher
Feb 20, 2018 11:55 AM CST
The key issues are: #1. When to start indoors? Too early and you will have problems with skinny tall plants hanging over everywhere. Check in one of your seed catalogues, they usually have starting dates. #2. Even more important, is Daisy's suggestion about "Hardening Off" when introducing the seedlings to the outside. Little bit of shaded Sun until they become used to it. Cheers! PS. Be adventurous. The seeds from most supermarket tomatoes will breed true (at least to the naked eye as opposed to the microscope)! True.
Name: Jim Goodman
Northeast Louisiana
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Jim41
Feb 22, 2018 10:56 AM CST
In Northeast Louisiana, if you want a ripe tomato by the first of June, you start your seed the first part of January.
Jim41

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