Starting Tomato Plants...I am going to try this | Forum

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Jstnona Mar 10 '15
Easy and inexpensive way to start tomato plants...

spectrumAU Moderator
spectrumAU Mar 10 '15
So simple.  Well seems to be anyway.  Must try.
wind090 Mar 10 '15

Interesting, but I would change some steps...

You can extract the seeds by letting them and the jelly around them ferment for some days in a glass. Then you just put that in a sieve and let run water over it. If you want you can dry the seeds and kepp them dry and cool for several years.

If you sow them, don't let the plants get too large until you seperate them, better sow them each one or two in small pods. (The soil for sowing should contain no fertilizers!!! This might burn the roots. You can use a mixture of any garden soil and sand or something like that.) If the roots of the plants grow, they will grow into each other and you might hurt them while seperating, causing Problems and even death to the plant.

When the plant has at least its third "real" leaves (after the germination leaves) you can plant it to its final position. Tomatoes need a lot of nutrients and water, so you need a good fertilizer or rotten cow- or horse- dung. Don't plant them in a place where you had potatoes or something like that before, this will immedately lead to an infection with Phytophtora infestans. You can to a certain level protect your plant with a little piece of copper-wire turned arount the roots. In a wet cold  and rainy area better protect your plant with a roof!!! 

In a cool climate better prune your plant! This will lead to less fruits, but not to prune will maybe mean your tomatoes wont get ripe. In a warm or hot climate you don't necessesarily need to prune.

Avoid leaves and fruits getting in touch with the soil!!! Remove leaves that have been infected with funghi (mostly this will be Phytophtora infestans). While harvesting you can remove the leaves from the bottom up, always up to the first bunch still with ripening tomatoes. 

Jstnona Mar 11 '15
Wind, your method of extracting seeds is what I learned from my grandfather as a child.  With all the hybrid tomatoes, it is no longer predictable.  I wonder how many of the grape/cherry tomatoes are hybrid.
The copper wire....is this just tor prevent funghi?   I have more of a problem with cracking and something eating my tomatoes.
wind090 Mar 11 '15

Yes, the copper wire is for the funghi.

With the tomatoes you buy in a shop you will mostly have the problem that it are hybrids. You can only be sure it aren't hybrids if you know your tomato-grower. If you want to be sure what you are planting better get some seeds... I don't know how that is in the US, but if you are looking for some old cultivars here in Europe there are several institutions and NGOs, providing them. ...but I guess over there it will be similar.

As far as I know (...and that's also what some colleagues of the Department of Vegatable Crops in Geisenheim told me) the cerry tomatoes, even if hybrid still will be very similar to what you took the seeds from.

My English is not that good, so I hope to tell you the right thing concerning "cracking". As far as I know, this mostly appears if you provide the plants with water after some time of drought. Especially if you grow your tomatoes in pods that can be a real problem. The only way to avoid that is to keep the soil constantly humid.

Sorry, but until I've seen your tomatoes it will be almost impossible to tell you what is eating them and what to do against that. At leat I would need to know some more...   

Jstnona Mar 11 '15
Wind, I use self watering containers for my tomato plants...so they have a consistent water supply.  And they are well mulched.  So that is not the problem.  I do live in a very hot and humid climate though. 

Yes there are sources for heirloom seeds available here also.

What does your copper wire, around the stalk, treat/prevent?
wind090 Mar 11 '15

The copper wire is mainly thought to help against Phytophtora ssp. (Don't know what's that in English, so I come up with the scientific name...  Sorry!) And other fungal pathogens. My father is absolutely convinced it helps, but in my opinion to a certain degree only. If you've got very high infection pressure it will help only a little. Copper is a heavy metal and as such very toxic for fungal metabolic processes, out of that reason many fungicides do contain copper. (Personally I wouldn't recommend copper containing fungicides!  Although they are allowed for use in organic agriculture they are among the most toxic pesticides on the market. The copper wire is not as dangerous as the copper from it does not go that easily into solution as the copper from the fungicides. ... but out of that reason it's less effective.)

I'm not that used to tomatoes, as I'm working on vines, but in my opinion the Problem could be related to plant water stress:

In your hot climate the plants may get some plant water stress even with sufficient water supply. During the day when it gets hot they may suffer from heat and maybe even close their stomata to prevent water loss and wilting (although they may even wilt to some degree). This may even stop photosynthesis to a certain level. As a result and depending on the tomatoe cultivar this may lead to comparably stiff fruit skins being susceptible on breaking. In the evening or night, when it gets cooler the stomata open again and the plant tries to reduce the plant water deficit, taking up as much water in a short time as possible. That water is "pumped" under very high presssure to every part of the plant and of course to the parts where it is stored, as is the case in the fruits. Those take up the water and the "weakened" tissue, formed under drought stress is not capable of bearing the pressure -> Your tomato cracks!

I've had the same Problem when I was living in Geisenheim, growing some tomatoes in pods on my balkony. Even though I had built my own "irrigation system" (composed of some drippers, tubes, a small pump, a solenoid valve and a timer), providing the same amount of water each day, when the weather was hot my tomatoes did crack.

In my opinion as long as you grow the tomatoes in pods you won't hardly be able to solve this problem, as there is only a small space between too much water and severe drought stress. If you grow the tomatoes not in pods but just in your garden, reduce irrigation.

If your problem is only about the cracking, you could also use cultivars developing fruits with a less thick and hard fruit skin. (... but I would absolutely not recommend that, as this feature makes up the fruit resistence against the fungal pathogens!!!)     

Jstnona Mar 11 '15
I think you are right about the stressors.  They do develop thick skins.   Even when I had them in raised beds.
In Florida the soil is almost pure sand.   I raise earthworms, to get castings to enrich my soil.  You have to add a lot of ammendents, to have close to loam. So, just to plant in the the ground is not the best way to go. 
Because of the high humidity, roses suffer here.  I shall try the copper wire trick with them and see what happens. 
wind090 Mar 12 '15

Just try the copper wire! My father is convinced of it. In my opinion it is more (if not most) important to keep the leaves dry.

With your sandy soil you can only try to add as much organic matter as possible in order to get it a little more fertile and to raise its waterholding capacity. Some People alos recommend to add some more or less finely crushed charcoal. (My approach to this mainly is that I add the ashes from the barbecue  or my baking-oven to the compost.)

Jstnona Apr 9 '15
I started plum and cherry tomatoes, using the above method.  The cherry tomatoes have not sprouted yet.  These are the resulting seedling, from the plum tomatoes.  Will thin them....as soon as they get their second leaves.
wind090 Apr 9 '15
Show us the fruits as soon they are good!
Jstnona Apr 9 '15
I shall
billyHill Moderator
billyHill Apr 15 '15
I want you to know after reading this, and seeing the pics, Nona.... I ran out to the local box store with a garden shop and bought a 6 inch tomato plant for the garden. Simple, with the pot made of cardboard. Just plant it in the ground and water it. Did that about a week ago and its looking good now. I'll post pics as soon as figure out how to do so with this silly phone I just got

Edit to add: I can't figure out this XXXXing phone. But the young'n told me just take the card out of it and put it in the PC. That works !!!

It might be a little too close up, but it is only about 6 inches above ground.
The Forum post is edited by billyHill Apr 15 '15
Jstnona Apr 16 '15
Looking good, Billy.  Will be awhile before mine are that large LOL
billyHill Moderator
billyHill Apr 27 '15
Is it normal ( typical) for these plants to "follow the sun" like a sunflower does?  Every day this plant is leaning towards the west. It does get a lot more noon- dark sun than it does dawn-noon sun.

I think because it gets more PM sun, It won't go back enough in the AM to "straighten it out" again. so is it OK to just let it lean? or should I tie some string around it to kinda "force" it to stay more upright??
billyHill Moderator
billyHill Apr 27 '15
well, I loosely tied a string from the plant to a piece of bamboo, to keep it upright.... and noticed some yellow flowers on it now

are the flowers just like say my lemon tree and if they get pollinated then they are ready to grow fruits?

The lemons are all ready about the size of golf balls or large eggs right now But they won't harvest until December or so.
wind090 Apr 27 '15

Ok Billy...  Yes, like all plants your tomatoes grow to the direction where they get the most light from. You can tie them up if you want them to grow straight into the direction you want them. If you don't tie them they will lay down and creep on the ground. In your dry californian climate this should mean no or only minor problems, while in more wet climate soil contact to tomatoe plants means infection with funghi and rot. If you tie them up (which in my opinion is better), you will have to continue with this for the whole life of the plant, as at least with the growing fruit load otherwise the stalk might kink or even break, causing parts of the plant to die. Tying them loose with the cord in the shape of a 8 is the right way (tight at your bamboo and loose at the tomatoe, so it still has space to grow).

The flowers contain both sexes, so that if they get pollinated each one will end up in a (hopefully) delicious fruit. In the huge greenhouses they use bumblebees to pollinate them, but bees, butterflies and (to a certain dergree) the wind will perform the same.  

Jstnona Apr 28 '15
Billy, I make a cage with bamboo stakes.  As Wind said, the stalk becomes quite thick and the plant very heavy, as it fruits.  Will break easily.  I use twine to around the stakes.   You can buy tomato cages...but I like the natural look of the bamboo.  And it is free for me LOL.  
I do not know if I will get lemons this year.  My blossoms all fell off.   Joseph got some really large lemons and limes on his tree last year.   I had bought him a grafted Meyer Lemon and Lime tree for his birthday.
The Forum post is edited by Jstnona Apr 28 '15
billyHill Moderator
billyHill Apr 28 '15
Thanks Wind and Nona.

That cage you speak of Nona, kinda looks like an upside down ice cream cone??  I think I've seen them.  I'm with you on the "if its free its for me" concept, though... I don't have enough room here as it is, more crap means more room to store the crap.

The bamboo I have is only going to be good while it is short, but I do have a regular trellis that I'm sure last time we had tomatoes we used it to help support the plant with.

At least today it hasn't leaned over and touched the ground with  the stake and string around it.

I also have tons of "zip ties" used mainly for wrapping wiring together for some reason... I have them in both indoor and outdoor applications.

I am careful not to tie anything too tight, as I know to allow room for the plant to grow, and it needs to be able to move around a little, anyhow.
billyHill Moderator
billyHill Oct 10 '15
ya know, my tomato plant has grown, but has only come to fruit 4 tomato's. Often it doesn't even seem like the flowers will open up completely, they just bud, and go away.

am I doing something wrong? or is it just that some plants harvest more than others??
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