2017 Tomato Timeline

Every year I'm amazed at how long we have to wait for ripe tomatoes in New England. For the past four or five seasons at BVG I've keep a notebook with my planting and harvest dates. Depending on the variety, I usually see the first ripe fruits sometime in the last week of July or first week of August. This year is the latest yet, with the first color showing up on August 4, but I also didn't plant any "early" varieties.

Here's a timeline of my tomato efforts in 2017

April 1: I started the seeds on a wet paper towel in a plastic take-out container. I put the container on the warm radiator cabinet until I see most of the seeds sprouting. New tomato seeds are pretty reliable, but I like to use up older seeds from my collection and the germination rate can be a bit lower after 4 or 5 years. The picture below is of pepper seeds, but the method is the same. Starting Tomatoes from Seed

April 7: I transplanted the sprouted tomato seeds into soil blocks and moved them to the basement under lights. I often put two seeds in each block and snip out the weaker one later.

April 10: Most of the seeds are up

April 23: The seedlings have the first true leaves.

April 30: The seedlings have multiple sets of true leaves, are taller, and the stems are thicker.

May 5: I transplanted the seedlings into larger pots and put them back under the lights in the basement. Check out my full post about potting up, How to Pot up Tomato Seedlings

May 14: I moved the seedlings up to the back porch so they can gradually get used to sunlight.

May 19: The new trellis is ready and the seedlings are planted out at the plot. For details on my method for planting out the seedings in the garden, read Planting Tomato Seedings

Then I weed, water, trellis, and prune through June and July.

July 31: The first blush appears on "Jaune Flame", a small orange tomato I'm trying for the first time this year.

August 4: I harvested semi-ripe tomatoes from "Damsel", "Jaune Flame", "Opalka", "Cherokee Purple", and "Carbon". The cherokee purple have rotted spots so I compost them.

August 8: Harvested the first semi-ripe "Super Sioux", "Arkansas Traveler", and "Goose Creek"

The plants are really suffering from septoria and a bit of early blight this year, so I keep trimming off damaged foliage. They are looking a little naked, but the upper growth is healthy.