Seed Swaps

tomatoes and the late spring.

24 Apr 2011
Cloudy 12°C / 54°F

Cliff Mass says this is the coldest spring on record, and tomatoes wont be able to go out until June ( The seed starters handbook ( says the rule of thumb is tomatoes go out when dogwoods are in full bloom. The dogwoods are just barely breaking dormancy now.
I have 7 of my tomato plants in gallon pots already. Some are almost a foot high with 9 sets of true leaves. I may transplant again into bigger pots, or maybe try putting a few out in early May protected by wall o water.
I think it is time to stop watering and fertilizing, at least not water very much.




I am hardening off my tomatos now, to be planted within a few days, and none of the dogwoods around here have leaves yet. Let alone blooms.

Posted on 24 Apr 11 (over 4 years ago)

Our dogwood blooms are almost gone. I plan to transplant mine to the garden this week as soon as the garden dries up so I can walk in there.

Posted on 24 Apr 11 (over 4 years ago)

just out of curiosity—what temperatures are you having?

Posted on 25 Apr 11 (over 4 years ago)

My tomatoes are nowhere near that big, but I also started several weeks late. I’m hoping we’ll have some decent temperatures by mid-May and so can set out then. How is your Black Krim doing? I’ve been eying that variety for a bit now.

Posted on 25 Apr 11 (over 4 years ago)

Black Krim is vigorous! you were good to start later. I also have a few tomatoes that germinated or were started later, probably more optimally timed.

Posted on 25 Apr 11 (over 4 years ago)

Sorry you are having such a cold spring. For once we are having an exceptionally warm, even hot one, with everything much advanced on the usual timings. I have started planting out my tomatoes in really large containers, against a west facing wall – 5 out so far – and covering them with fleece at night. Standing by said wall as the sun was going down this evening you could feel the heat radiating from it at a distance of 6 feet. This is so unusual for us here where even mid May plant outs can be hit by late frosts and one year we had a frost June 1st. Hope things soon warm up for you.

Posted on 25 Apr 11 (over 4 years ago)

If it makes you feel any better (or more daring) anelson, I just looked and last year I put my tomatoes out May 2nd and they all did fine. This was in semi-sheltered raised beds in Renton (downtown- not on the hills), with no covers.
Haven’t decided how daring I’m gonna be this year but I am having your same problem.

Posted on 25 Apr 11 (over 4 years ago)

They are beautiful – can’t wait to see your harvest!

Posted on 25 Apr 11 (over 4 years ago)

I live in a different micro-climate in the PNW (sorry to state the obvious) but I never think of planting out tomatoes before mid-May..AND that’s if the weather has been AND is forecast to be great. Most years, it’s more likely the end of May/early June.

Some of my tomatoes are already into 1 gallon pot size, others are about to graduate to that. I’d rather go “big” so the toms can eventually “go home”, when the weather warms up.

My personal take on “when the xxxxx” blooms, you should do this" is just to use it as a reminder – not a rule. For example, you “shouldn’t prune roses” till Forsythia and/or daffodils are out. To have followed that rule devotedly would have been a mistake this year!

The other thing I focus on is the overnight low temperatures. And protection from chilly late Spring/early Summer rain.

Posted on 26 Apr 11 (over 4 years ago)


Folia Helper

United States7b

it’s a good thing I added more shelving in my grow room – I have a heck of a lot of tomatoes, tomatillos and peppers still to pot up! I had never heard of the dogwood blooming thing – my dogwood has just barely started leafing out. I might try seeingreen’s idea of covering them with fleece at night though. As you probably already know – when you pot up the next bunch – bury the stems up to the first set of leaves – this will establish better roots and sturdier plants for when you can plant them out. I find that is giving me more room on the shelves as well. Good luck with your tomatos anelson!

Posted on 26 Apr 11 (over 4 years ago)

I never plant out my solanums until June 6, even in warm springs. But I’m usually able to at least put them on the porch by mid May. This is not looking so possible this year.

Posted on 28 Apr 11 (over 4 years ago)

I can’t imagine a climate where one plants so late, but I’d stick with the dogwoods! They look great!

Posted on 01 May 11 (over 4 years ago)

It is a warm afternoon, the second of the year, and I put all the seedlings out for an hour of late afternoon sun. Not sure if this is hardening off yet, but I will try and put them out whenever it is above 55

Posted on 01 May 11 (over 4 years ago)

(also in Seattle) I just potted up several of my tomatoes into 1 gallon pots. Today it almost felt nice enough to start putting stuff outside, but at night (and in the shade) it’s still quite chilly. I’m about to start beans indoors so that they will have a head start once it’s warm enough out. Hard to hold back because we should be able to plant more at this time of year. What a frigid spring. Your tomato starts look great! Fun varieties too, I’ve never grown any of those.

Posted on 01 May 11 (over 4 years ago)

These varieties are all new to me too. And except for black krim, all supposed to be northern climate varieties

Posted on 02 May 11 (over 4 years ago)

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