Vegetables and Fruit forum: Growing early girl tomatoes! Questions!

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Name: Jenny
Hampton, VA (Zone 8a)
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BlueRaccoon
Apr 16, 2018 10:07 AM CST
I am about to start early girl tomato seeds!

I have read that the soil needs to be at 6.5-7.5 pH. My current pH is a little under 8. What are some easy ways to do this? I have read about using sphagnum peat moss to make the soil more acidic. However, they say to put it around the plant. Should I put the plant in, and then treat the soil? Or should I try to make the soil more acidic before I put the plant in? Would sphagnum peat moss be the best thing to use in that case? Also, is there a cheaper way to make the soil more acidic?

Also, is there anything else I should do to the soil to prepare it? I have never planted anything in this location, and don't know much about the soil. I'm sure a lot of my soil is sand.

I am new to gardening. Thanks for the help! :)
Name: Paul Fish
Brownville, Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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PaulF
Apr 16, 2018 10:24 AM CST
If your soil is under 8.0 pH, it should be OK this year. The best thing to do is to do a soil test from an accredited lab. Most States have soil testing done by the state extension. Nebraska does not but a private soils lab does the testing inexpensively (about $10)

This would give you a true condition of your soil and also recommendations on what to do. I fight high pH and use elemental sulphur to help lower it. Both the soil test and addition of soil amendments are best at the end of the growing season but any time is better than never. Plant your tomatoes this year, see what happens and then go from there.

If you are going to direct sow tomatoes, there may not be enough time to get a good crop. I start seeds in March so the seedlings are established by planting time in May. Early girl is very commonly found at places that sell tomato plants, so I would suggest buying the plants this year and research growing tomatoes from seed for next year.
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
Apr 16, 2018 1:12 PM CST
Jenny: Tomatoes even grow in sewer outlets, the seeds having been digested by us and then carried right through the sewage system. I would respectfully suggest, that you not get "mentally" hung up on soil pH. If you were growing large crops, yes, but for a home gardener, not necessary at all. Plant your "Early Girl" seeds now, outside, if you think the last cold weather has visited you. "Early Girl" incidentally, is a tomato seed developed for colder zones, like here in Canada. LOL. But True! The point being that they can be planted "early" and reach fruition before the snow flies. In your zone, I would certainly plant the seeds outside now. They don't care what soil they are in, BUT, they need fertilizer and water (but never overhead water)! I have grown them several times, and up here they get very, very big. Good luck! Just do it!
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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Newyorkrita
Apr 16, 2018 3:38 PM CST
Your starting from seed outside? Usually seeds are started indoors in potting mix under lights about 6 weeks before planting out time.

My suggestion is you start your seeds indoors next year and now go a local garden center and buy plants. They will be able to tell you the best time to plant out in your area.
Name: Eddie
Clemson,SC
EddieG
May 21, 2018 7:01 AM CST
Early Girls are one of my favorites. I like the taste, size, productivity, and early harvest. I start mine from seeds in March and put in the ground May.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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Newyorkrita
May 21, 2018 10:06 AM CST
Well, Early Girl is a common one so they should be found at most any Nursery in the Spring. I do like the fact that it produces like crazy. You can always count on it.
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
May 21, 2018 5:19 PM CST
Newyorkrita is right on the money. Just go to your favourite garden centre, and buy a bunch of "Early Girl" transplants! BUT, be careful of the last frost. Sorry, I just checked your Zone, you are fine!!

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