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May 3, 2009 11:10 AM

Any Advice for Jfood with These Tomatoes

Jfood just picked up his tomato plants with the following varieties:

Sweet Olive
Viva Italia
Cherokee Purple
Early Girl
Mr Stripey
Mortgage Lifter
Yellow Pear

Any suggestions or advice?


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  1. Don't plant them yet! It's too early in Connecticut. Still a danger of frost. Are they in six-packs? If so, you should check to see if the roots are coming out the bottom. You may have to plant them in larger containers while you wait for that last frost date.

    4 Replies
    1. re: clamscasino

      Shoot - do you think I planted too early here in Boston? They went in yesterday when I saw the temps for the upcoming week. Walking around other community plots in the city today though, I saw that I was the only one who made this rash decision. Don't suppose it would be a great idea to pull them and put them in the greenhouse?

      jfood - like you, I planted Rutgurs, juliet and early girl (plus others). The early girl and juliet have been pretty hardy in the past. I had trouble with Mortgage Lifter last year - it collapsed pretty fast although we had a really rotten May/June last year with tons of rain.

      1. re: alwayscooking

        Get one-gallon plastic jugs and fill with water about 3/4 full and surround each plant. During the day, the water in the jugs heats up and surround the plant with a hothouse effect, at night they release the heat so the plants don't get frozen overnight. Some garden centers near you may sell Wall-o-Water, which is a more sophisticated version of what you can do with milk jugs....and may be cheaper than all that milk if you don't go through a lot normally.

        1. re: weezycom

          That's an excellent thing to do when you get them in the ground a little on the early side.

          1. re: weezycom

            Or easier yet, you can cut out the bottom of plastic water or milk jugs and put on top of plant (w/ top removed), anchored a bit into the soil to keep them in place. it's not quite as protective of the wall-o-water, but much more economical if you have a lot of plants.

      2. Rutgers is a nice, pretty sturdy, medium-size general purpose tomato. We like it, and I think a lot of people do, judging from our difficulty finding them some years. Early Girl is also your basic medium-sized tomato, pretty reliable. I killed a Cherokee Purple seedling given to me, so not going there.

        One important thing which you probably already know but we still run into occasionally is calcium and more calcium for your tomato soil to help prevent blossom end rot. Have fun with your tomatoes!

        We might be past the last frost date for this year - I haven't been to the Agway lately, and that's where I get the info -- but it still gets pretty cold at night, so might be a little early for them to go in the ground.

        1. In the ground date is next weekend.

          1. Funny. Except for Early Girl, I've never heard of any of those. Must be a left/right coast thing. Though months away still, I'm already looking forward to BLTs. No planting for me this year however. We're mostly at Tahoe and it's just too short a season and not enough heat. But a good weekly farmers market.

            1. Bury the seedlings up to the top inch or two of stem. The buried stem will send out roots and the plant will grow better.

              If you are a smoker, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching any tomato plant or anything that will touch a tomato plant. Most tomatoes are not resistant to tobacco mosaic virus.

              Add one handful of bone meal or ground limestone per tomato plant and one teaspoon of magnesium sulfate (epsom salts) per tomato plant to the planting area, along with slow release fertilizer (one or two handfuls per tomato plant) , and rake into the ground before planting the seedlings. The first prevents blossom end rot, the second makes the plants healthier, and the third makes them grow. Do not fertilize again, or you will encourage leaf growth rather than fruit.

              1 Reply
              1. re: therealdoctorlew

                those are great suggestions doc. thank you very much