Early planting out tomatoes...

09 October, 2016

I couldn't help myself.

Here in Melbourne we've had a couple of days of some sunshine, so I got a bit overexcited at the weather finally turning a little bit spring like and I planted out some tomato seedlings from their current safehouse of the polytunnel.

Traditionally in Melbourne the time to plant out your tomatoes is the weekend before or after the Melbourne Cup. Which is about a month away. I don't care, as I've always planted out my tomatoes earlier than that date.

However I'm not totally foolhardy. I tested the soil in the wicking beds which I am devoting to tomatoes this year. The soil was not cold to touch (which is often the case with raised beds where they heat up earlier than regular ground level soil) but in fact pleasantly warm, so I felt the tomatoes were unlikely to get too rude a shock coming out of the comfy polytunnel environs and into the real world.

The raised beds got some manure dug in, then in went the tomato seedlings.



To not be totally cruel I have given them some added protection of plastic bottle covers (the bottoms of the bottles are cut off so they just get stuck into the soil around the seedlings) and old coffee glass jars so they are protected from any real cold and get a mini glass house environment to help them on their way.

This also makes labelling easy



Now I do have back up seedlings just in case this doesn't work out. But fingers crossed they will grow to nice healthy tomatoes. I can't wait for tomato season to begin. It's been way too long since I had fresh homegrown tomato.
 

8 comments:

  1. Here in Tas I have had tiny tomato seedlings pop up in the compost spread on the vegie beds. I always consider that a sign that they think it is warm enough!

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    1. True, if they are coming up without our help its a good sign

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  2. It's still way too cold I reckon - over night lows of 7 degrees still and the soil has not warmth in it.... I don't much like the warm weather, the only good thing is that we can grow tomatoes so I am getting a bit impatient about it all too!

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    1. I am sceptical myself, but I have a lot of backup plants so I'm prepared for it to fail and not completely ruin me :)

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  3. I've had no success with growing tomato seedlings this year. Obviously the environment I'm trying to keep them warm in is still too cold.

    It's not helped by baby slugs chewing through and killing off every cucumber and pumpkin seedling that sprouted. :( I'm not happy with my lack of seedlings to plant out at this stage. Last year I had a dozen seedlings ready in September.

    But I'm contenting myself with making the last of the garden beds I've been planning all winter, so there's still plenty to do.

    May your early plantings grow tall and strong! I can't wait for your next update :)

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    1. It may also be old sees. I had some varieties not come up as the seeds was a couple of years old. I too suffered from bug attack, but they seem to have stopped now. Given we've had a cold spring so far I reckon later grown seedlings may actually be better off. Cheers!

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  4. I like these rules about planting - our rule her in Tassie is "after show day" (oct 20ish) - but my dad has successfully planted his out before then (so I do too!). we use large tree protectors - they're like big plastic pillowcases, open at each end - which we keep in place until the plants grow over them :-)
    good luck! nothing beats homegrown tomatoes.

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    1. Cheers E, I remember seeing those on your blog and they are a great idea! Maybe one day I'll get around to testing them in Melbs.

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