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New to growing your own tomatoes? This is the forum to learn the successful techniques used by seasoned tomato growers. Questions are welcome, too.

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #31
bower
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As I understand it, it is as you said, Dee. The physics of ice crystal formation and the physiology of the seed cells.

Meanwhile, good for you, Nan! Can't beat experimental results to answer a question.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #32
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My volunteer plants are often weaker and less productive than transplants. They don't eventually catch up to their cultivated peers. This is especially true of the larger fruited tomatoes. Perhaps genetic damage from freezing in the ground?

- Lisa
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Old 1 Week Ago   #33
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Possibly, but I think it's more likely to be things like

--germinating weeks to months later than indoor started seeds because the soil has to warm first.
--more effort in putting roots down in compacted garden soil rather than a loose potting mix.
--no transplant shock to the roots, so primarily depends on the long tap root, instead of a larger fibrous root mass closer to the surface which can absorb nutrients more effectively.

If it was just the freezing, then people who keep seeds in their freezers should also have weaker plants. You could theorize that there might be some borderline point of freezing moisture in the garden where the embryo is not killed but has some damage, though.
You could test this by digging up and moving the volunteers into another spot in the garden or transplanting into a large pot and see if they develop differently. Of course you would have to treat them really well so they could catch up with the earlier indoor plants.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #34
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I agree with Dee, there may be damage or other cause of a setback to the volunteers, but it would not likely be genetic damage, and I doubt that non-fatal freezing would affect the plant DNA.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #35
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Lisa, I'm guessing it's not from damage, but is because the soil is either too cold or the air is too hot at the time of the season when they sprout. Having black plastic or mulch around the volunteers may help, or trying to get them to sprout earlier in the season, by stirring and watering the soil (should you know they might sprout in a certain spot).
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Old 1 Week Ago   #36
greenthumbomaha
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All good points, and not wanting to create extra work for myself I allow very few volunteers to grow to maturity. Every year I have more transplants than I can possibly use for myself. I have a soft spot for survivors, and sometimes it's just curiosity to see what colors, sizes, etc form.

They did a great job helping me get a good crop this year when a hail storm took out my newly planted garden. I had far too many plants from all sources. The cherry volunteers caught up and produced without missing a beat but were very late to ripen.


-Lisa
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