Direct sowing tomato seeds in the summer

zeuspaul
Reactions: 271
Posts: 474
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2020 9:24 pm
Location: San Diego
Contact:

Direct sowing tomato seeds in the summer

#1

Post: # 69139Unread post zeuspaul
Fri May 06, 2022 8:36 pm

How do I sow tomato seeds in the ground in June for a Fall crop? I want to direct sow for the best chance of a good tap root. My concern is enough moisture to germinate the seeds. I can water once per day.

SoCal is hot and dry and the surface soil will dry quickly.

...Can I plant deeper than 1/4 inch?

...Mix a lot of peat in the upper inch or two or three of soil?

...Mulch with a light colored mulch? I have some dried grass clippings from the string trimmer that are light brown, almost white.

...Terracotta watering spikes designed for vacation use. It is a terracotta spike that you place a water bottle on. One liter wine bottle is supposed to last about a week. They should work well for roots but will they keep the upper 1/4 inch of soil moist?

...a small shade device? from window screen?
0

User avatar
jmsieglaff
Reactions: 284
Posts: 271
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:07 pm
Location: Southern Wisconsin
Contact:

Re: Direct sowing tomato seeds in the summer

#2

Post: # 69141Unread post jmsieglaff
Fri May 06, 2022 8:56 pm

Never done such a thing. If I were here’s what I’d do. I plant shallow (as directed) water each AM, cover with a board or cardboard with a rock on it until you see a sprout. Then mulch with straw or similar around the tiny plant but allow Sun to reach the leaves.

Also kinda wonder why not start it indoors until it sprouts and can gain some size, harden off and then plant in ground so the plant is taller and you can mulch deeply?
1

User avatar
jmsieglaff
Reactions: 284
Posts: 271
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:07 pm
Location: Southern Wisconsin
Contact:

Re: Direct sowing tomato seeds in the summer

#3

Post: # 69142Unread post jmsieglaff
Fri May 06, 2022 8:58 pm

Also if you’re worried about the small plant not making it. Sow 6-8 seeds let them all grow and thin to 1 at some point, higher chances of success?
0

User avatar
karstopography
Reactions: 2572
Posts: 2674
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:15 am
Location: Southeast Texas
Contact:

Re: Direct sowing tomato seeds in the summer

#4

Post: # 69143Unread post karstopography
Fri May 06, 2022 9:06 pm

Random Tomato seedlings pop in my garden periodically. Sometimes, a lot, so much I have to weed them out. Is it possible to overthink this?
0
Zone 9a/b, right on the line, in the heart of the Columbia bottomlands. Heat zone 9, Sunset Zone 28, annual rainfall 52”

User avatar
jmsieglaff
Reactions: 284
Posts: 271
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:07 pm
Location: Southern Wisconsin
Contact:

Re: Direct sowing tomato seeds in the summer

#5

Post: # 69144Unread post jmsieglaff
Fri May 06, 2022 9:17 pm

karstopography wrote: Fri May 06, 2022 9:06 pm Random Tomato seedlings pop in my garden periodically. Sometimes, a lot, so much I have to weed them out. Is it possible to overthink this?
This is a good point….I also don’t live in a hot desert so I probably can’t appreciate how quickly things can dry out?
0

User avatar
Shule
Reactions: 1154
Posts: 2167
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2019 3:29 pm
Location: SW Idaho, USA
Contact:

Re: Direct sowing tomato seeds in the summer

#6

Post: # 69145Unread post Shule
Fri May 06, 2022 10:35 pm

I'd suggest keeping them cool, while seed-starting, and giving them nitrates (not just any form of nitrogen) after the transplant every week for a few weeks. Also, organic matter would probably be especially important for late plantings in a hot, dry area.

The problem here isn't just the moisture, but also the heat, and disease. Tomatoes don't normally germinate above 90 degrees F. Plus, if you do get seedlings, diseases can be a bigger problem that time of year with seed-starting indoors, in my experience (maybe not everyone's). Also, heat/drought can stunt seedlings outdoors (you'd probably want to give them nitrates and maybe other stuff to compensate for the lack of nitrates from rain). I've found that calcium nitrate is the only thing (of quite a few nutrients) I've tried that helps prevent stunting of late transplants. I administer it as a foliar spray, typically, but it would probably do the same in the soil.
0
Location: SW Idaho, USA
Climate: BSk
USDA hardiness zone: 6
Elevation: 2,260 feet

WoodSprite
Reactions: 84
Posts: 99
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2020 6:18 pm
Location: center of Pennsylvania, USA, Zone 6a
Contact:

Re: Direct sowing tomato seeds in the summer

#7

Post: # 69146Unread post WoodSprite
Fri May 06, 2022 11:15 pm

I direct seeded a tomato plant in my garden in Pennsylvania last year. This is not the normal practice here and no one I know has done it here. What I did was cut off the bottom to a gallon milk jug, removed the cap for ventilation. Then I put the seed 1/4" deep in my garden bed where I wanted it to grow. My garden soil is made from 50% compost & 50% topsoil. Every year or two I top the bed off with more straight compost (that's made locally from leaves and grass clippings).

I mulch my gardens with pine shavings that I get from Tractor Supply Company though I brushed the mulch away from the area that I put the seed so the mulch didn't hamper the seedling. Once the seed was in the soil, I used the prepared jug as a cloche and pushed it into the soil a bit to shelter the seed from our still freezing temperatures. I was concerned that the jug would blow away so I put a rough-shaped rock on top. The rough shape of the rock still allowed ventilation.

After it germinated and was several inches tall and looking strong, I mulched it. When daytime temps got warmer, I hardened it off by removing the jug for a while in increasing amounts of time until I could leave it off. Anytime I watered it, I watered the soil near it, not directly on the plant.

I started this tomato plant the day after I started the same variety ('Matina') indoors under lights which is the normal way for my area. Normal plant out time here is mid to late May though I always wait to plant out tender plants until late May. I sowed this seed on April 12. On May 12 I noticed it was approx. 3-inches tall. My other plant that I started indoors, I planted out on May 26. I harvested the first fruit from my direct seeded plant 7 days before I harvested my first fruit from my indoor-started plant.

I don't know how well this would work in your hotter environment. If you decided to try this, you could drill or cut holes near the top of the jug for even more ventilation so it doesn't overheat as easily and remove the jug sooner than I did.
1

zeuspaul
Reactions: 271
Posts: 474
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2020 9:24 pm
Location: San Diego
Contact:

Re: Direct sowing tomato seeds in the summer

#8

Post: # 69154Unread post zeuspaul
Sat May 07, 2022 2:15 am

I plan on trying a couple of things. I want to extend my growing season. This past year I harvested a few small Japanese Black Trifele a couple of weeks ago. The best way for me to get an extended season is still an unknown. What variety? when and how to plant for better results?

I direct sowed several seeds in a container about a month ago. When I pulled the extras they had a beautiful tap root. I know cuttings don't develop a tap root. I don't know what kind of tap root is hiding in the mass of roots in the indoor starts. Also I don't know if encouraging a good tap root helps in a hot dry climate when planted in the ground. I drip water for a long time to get deep water. We get no rain until maybe November.

I am guessing starting a few indoors in a tall four inch pot might result in a plant with a good tap root. I could then plant deep in maybe August and probably get better results than direct seeding. I have been growing tomatoes for many years but never tried to extend the season. I tried micros this year but I don't want to do that again. I tried several varieties but they all produced too small tomatoes. They also competed for space under the lights when I wanted to start my regular tomatoes.
0

User avatar
worth1
Reactions: 5122
Posts: 7765
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:32 pm
Location: 25 miles southeast of Waterloo Texas
Contact:

Re: Direct sowing tomato seeds in the summer

#9

Post: # 69164Unread post worth1
Sat May 07, 2022 7:43 am

I'm worried about y'alls water supply.
I've put misters on a timer to sprout seeds outside before.
0
Worth
25 miles southeast of Waterloo Texas.

Crawfish, (Lobster Of The Bayou).

User avatar
worth1
Reactions: 5122
Posts: 7765
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:32 pm
Location: 25 miles southeast of Waterloo Texas
Contact:

Re: Direct sowing tomato seeds in the summer

#10

Post: # 69168Unread post worth1
Sat May 07, 2022 8:30 am

I've had countless tomato seeds sprout by neglect in the middle of the summer here in Central Texas.
It isn't that much different than So Cal except for a lot hotter here most of the time.
With no rain in the summer our humidity goes way down many times.
I have lived just north of San Diego and just about every climate you can think of in Texas.
I also spent quite a bit of time in the Majove desert.
That desert in geographic terms runs from the coast of California to just into Central Texas.
The names just change.
0
Worth
25 miles southeast of Waterloo Texas.

Crawfish, (Lobster Of The Bayou).

zeuspaul
Reactions: 271
Posts: 474
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2020 9:24 pm
Location: San Diego
Contact:

Re: Direct sowing tomato seeds in the summer

#11

Post: # 69443Unread post zeuspaul
Wed May 11, 2022 2:11 am

I don't have enough water pressure in the main garden for a mister. I tried a water wick in a gallon milk jug filled with water. The string did wick the water although very slowly. I don't think direct sowing in the summer is a good idea. I may try direct sowing in the early season next year similar to what @WoodSprite did.
jmsieglaff wrote: Fri May 06, 2022 8:56 pm Also kinda wonder why not start it indoors until it sprouts and can gain some size, harden off and then plant in ground so the plant is taller and you can mulch deeply?
I think this is the best approach for starting a Fall crop. Now I have to figure out the best varieties for a late season crop.
1

User avatar
Tormato
Reactions: 1736
Posts: 2193
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2019 3:14 pm
Contact:

Re: Direct sowing tomato seeds in the summer

#12

Post: # 69455Unread post Tormato
Wed May 11, 2022 7:58 am

If you do try direct seeding, I also recommend the board method.

It's basically necessary for growing carrots, here. A scrap piece of 1 X 8 pine would work fine. It keeps the moisture in the soil, and prevents seeds from washing away (carrots are sown virtually at the surface) in heavy rains.

Sowing several seeds at multiple depths (1/8"? & 1/4"?), and then selecting for the best seedling, would be how I'd try it. The board should likely be removed after 3 to 4 days.
1

OhioGardener
Reactions: 200
Posts: 225
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:58 am
Location: SW Ohio, Zone 6
Contact:

Re: Direct sowing tomato seeds in the summer

#13

Post: # 69492Unread post OhioGardener
Wed May 11, 2022 10:06 pm

I'm gardening in 6b (Ohio), so I don't know if my methods would be entirely effective, but I always have some direct-seeded varieties in my garden. Usually these are fast-growing E. European varieties, but I want production by at least late mid-season and probably have a shorter season than you do.

In my experience, for deep root growth, you want to work the soil down deep so it's not compacted. If the soil I'm working with dries out quickly, then I remove a good portion of the original and mix in Miracle Grow Moisture Control Potting mix which hangs on to moisture longer. Also, in order to minimize evaporation, I mulch the entire tomato patch with a thick layer of straw. A secondary purpose is it completely controls the weeds so I don't have to mess with weeding. I've also found that when watering, it needs to be slow and steady enough to penetrate deeply because if you only wet the soil surface, that's where the roots will stay and you'll end up with a vicious cycle where you have to water more and more and the plants end up in a perpetual state of stress because of the rapid moisture fluctuations. If your area is really hot with a lot of intense sun, maybe a filtered shade cloth over your plants would also help slow down evaporation and protect them from scalding. I've not tried the latter, but again it's because I'm in Ohio and haven't needed the extra protection in my zone.
0
Debbie

User avatar
habitat-gardener
Reactions: 213
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2019 1:56 am
Location: central california, Sunset zone 14
Contact:

Re: Direct sowing tomato seeds in the summer

#14

Post: # 69530Unread post habitat-gardener
Thu May 12, 2022 1:53 pm

I bought some tomato seeds from Nikitovka last year. The descriptions indicated that they were suitable for direct seeding. I intended to try it but ran out of time!
0

OhioGardener
Reactions: 200
Posts: 225
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:58 am
Location: SW Ohio, Zone 6
Contact:

Re: Direct sowing tomato seeds in the summer

#15

Post: # 69547Unread post OhioGardener
Thu May 12, 2022 5:08 pm

habitat-gardener wrote: Thu May 12, 2022 1:53 pm I bought some tomato seeds from Nikitovka last year. The descriptions indicated that they were suitable for direct seeding. I intended to try it but ran out of time!
I hope Nikitovka comes back because they were a good vendor. Sometimes their tomato seeds don't always come true, but I've also had a lot of nice things from them with generous seed counts. My last order was actually days before the invasion. When I looked up their address, they were right in the path of some of the worst areas in Irpin and they were at least OK at that time and the package still somehow was able to make it.

FYI there's another vendor which is still open and begging for new orders to help them right now. I haven't ordered from them previously because I just stumbled on them, but they have some interesting Ukrainian heirlooms on their site as well as Western varieties. I'm astounded that their postal system has been working and I have a package on the way. They're at https://organicseeds.top/shop/vegetable ... f-tomatoes
1
Debbie

OhioGardener
Reactions: 200
Posts: 225
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:58 am
Location: SW Ohio, Zone 6
Contact:

Re: Direct sowing tomato seeds in the summer

#16

Post: # 69548Unread post OhioGardener
Thu May 12, 2022 5:18 pm

FYI I do have some direct sow varieties I'm willing to share. Not sure how they'd do in hot climates though. If you're willing to try a currant tomato, I also have a Florida wild native (Everglades) that I direct sowed several years ago and it's naturalized and re-seeded itself every year after. In fact, I had so many last year that I sent J.L. Hudson about 1 pound of cleaned & dried seed and that was only a portion of the fruit. I don't care or water them at all anymore and I've read they'll even produce and survive in the heat of Florida summers. They're small, about nickle sized, and a pain to pick, but they have a surprisingly good full tomato flavor and there are so many of them. I have seeds for those too.
0
Debbie

Wildcat82
Reactions: 12
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2021 8:34 am
Location: San Antonio Texas
Contact:

Re: Direct sowing tomato seeds in the summer

#17

Post: # 69738Unread post Wildcat82
Sun May 15, 2022 9:57 am

You'd have much better luck cloning plants you're growing now (hopefully you're growing some). Normally I root my cutting 2 weeks indoors then put them outside in full shade til they're big enough to plant out.
0
Last edited by Wildcat82 on Sun May 15, 2022 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

Wildcat82
Reactions: 12
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2021 8:34 am
Location: San Antonio Texas
Contact:

Re: Direct sowing tomato seeds in the summer

#18

Post: # 69739Unread post Wildcat82
Sun May 15, 2022 10:10 am

worth1 wrote: Sat May 07, 2022 8:30 am I've had countless tomato seeds sprout by neglect in the middle of the summer here in Central Texas.
It isn't that much different than So Cal except for a lot hotter here most of the time.
With no rain in the summer our humidity goes way down many times.
I have lived just north of San Diego and just about every climate you can think of in Texas.
I also spent quite a bit of time in the Majove desert.
That desert in geographic terms runs from the coast of California to just into Central Texas.
The names just change.
You sow your seeds in a climate controlled environment, give them the perfect amount of light and nutrients, carefully harden them off, plant them in a specially formulated potting mix, constantly spray anti-fungals and miticides, put them on a regular watering/fertilizer regimen, etc., and still have half your plants croak. Meanwhile volunteer tomatoes pop up in a rock pile, crack in the sidewalk, or in some caliche soil in a 100 degree heatwave.

Nature can be funny like that.
0

zeuspaul
Reactions: 271
Posts: 474
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2020 9:24 pm
Location: San Diego
Contact:

Re: Direct sowing tomato seeds in the summer

#19

Post: # 69801Unread post zeuspaul
Mon May 16, 2022 2:20 am

From the Park Seed Blog. Tomatoes are on their start indoor list. I know for a fact that they can be direct seeded in the Spring because I have had healthy productive volunteers that produced well.

Which seeds can be sown in the garden and which ones will need to be started indoors and transplanted later? Read on for a complete list.

Starting a garden from seeds is one of the smartest decisions you can make for your garden. You’ll cut down significantly on costs and you’ll have a wider selection of plants to choose from. Talk about a win-win! Once you’ve made the decision to plant your garden with seeds instead of transplants, you need to decide which ones to plant. You’ll also need to decide whether you can sow them straight into your garden or if you need to start them inside.

https://parkseed.com/blog/vegetables-bl ... irect-sow/
1

Post Reply

Return to “Seed Starting”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests