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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 February 27, 2018   #1
Jetstar
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Default A first for me

I've always go0ne to the local greenhouses in May and bought 20.00 of started tomato & pepper plants. But last fall I won a contest on a internet site, and the prize was tomato & pepper seeds. So yesterday I put the seeds in seed starting soil and built a grow box with a light. This year I'll be growing a variety of tomato called Black Sea man along with Shi★★★★o sweet peppers. Don't really know a great deal about these 2 plants, I hope someone here can offer some idea if they do well with in a grow bag. Yes I'll still get my Jetstar from the greenhouse but starting my own seeds is a first for me so any advice or tips would be great!
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Old February 27, 2018   #2
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Reading many discussions here at Tomatoville and following some of the tips I gleaned I grew the best looking tomato starts that I saw anywhere last year. Others with whom I shared plants said so too. The only plant I bought had aphids on it!
So, poke around in the various threads and you will find what you need to know. Lots of people here talk about using grow bags for their tomato and pepper plants.

Happy reading and growing!
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Old February 27, 2018   #3
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I saw a video on You Tube "How to build a tomato & vegetable seed grow-light box", it took me just an hr to build it... So easy I used coconut coir as my seed starting mix, seems like its quite popular, I used fiber 8 pack flats that I'll bottom water 1 8pack has the tomato seeds the other pepper seeds. I do plan on transplanting them to styrofoam cups after 4 weeks of growth. I'm going to try to post up a pic of the set up I just built. Any advice or tips is welcome
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Old February 27, 2018   #4
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I've built grow boxes kind of like that in the past. One that I did was take a box that a large computer case came in, lined the entire interior in foil and put a small CFL bulb in a fixture poked through a hole in the top. Works surprisingly well.

Now that you're starting your own seeds, I think you'll find it extremely satisfying, and I wouldn't be surprised if you find yourself wanting to start more and more of your own each year. Heck you might even find yourself wanting to start your own Jet Star seeds next year!
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Old February 27, 2018   #5
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Sirtanon I would have started some Jet Star and might still if I can find them at my local store, I think if I find some in the next week or so I will!
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Old February 27, 2018   #6
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I know I have some Jet Star seed packs - Ferry Morse, if I remember correctly - that I bought from the local Lowes or Home Depot. If you have one of these stores near you, it might be worth a look.
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Old February 27, 2018   #7
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This is my 4th year growing from seed; I always bought transplants. It's really a satisfying experience to enjoy eating a tomato that you grew from a tiny seed. On the flip side, it's absolutely heart breaking to lose 70% of your new seedlings to a fungal infection. I was depressed for days...

I do buy transplants for the hybrid tomato varieties that I grow every year (Early Girl, Big Beef, Big Boy, etc...) mainly because they only cost $1.19 for a 3-pack where I buy them.... They have always been of good quality, so I really don't see the cost/labor effectiveness of growing them from seed.

Good luck! Hope you have a great growing season!

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Old February 27, 2018   #8
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Goodloe I don' know if it will help prevent fungal issues but after adding water to the coconut coir that Burpee sells I microwaved it 4 times at 60 sec each and repeated it 4 times. the You Tube link (Rusted Garden) said it would kill off any fungus, insect eggs and any other bad stuff to ensure the young plants were healthy when put in the garden. Don't know if you did this for your seed mix but it can't hurt.
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Old February 27, 2018   #9
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Welcome to the wonderful world of seed starting. It is a great joy for many and a disaster for others.

Your growing chamber is fine. Keep the temperatures to around 80-85 degrees until the seeds germinate. Once the seeds germinate you can keep them cooler. Coconut coir holds a lot of moisture. Try to only bottom water these and keep them on the dry side. Moist but not wet. I also am a big fan of air circulation. It helps to prevent molds and creates strong stems. I use a fan to keep the air moving.

Cooking your soil will sterilize it for that moment in time. Most of the pathogens that affect seedlings are airborne and will grow wherever conditions are ripe. Prevention is the best treatment. Air circulation is best. You can also use a dilute solution of hydrogen peroxide when you are watering your plants. My favorite though is adding mycorrhizae. I use MycoGro. These organisms fight other fungal diseases.

Have fun and good luck!
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Old February 27, 2018   #10
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MissS thanks for your advice on seed starting. Once the seeds start to come up I plan on putting the plants after 4 or 5 weeks in a large foam coffee cup until I put them in the garden... Opinions on this idea?
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Old February 27, 2018   #11
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Start to lightly fertilize the plants when they get their first true leaves. I use MiracleGro at 1/2 strength. They grow quickly and you should plan on potting them up at about the 3 week mark.
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Old February 28, 2018   #12
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Many thanks MissS! MircleGro liquid right?
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Old March 1, 2018   #13
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I use the MG powder and mix it with water. Use whatever you have on hand.
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Old March 1, 2018   #14
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MissS, will do, I was told 1/4 to 1/2 strength and every 10 days or so to water/fertilize after the seedlings first appear. I see your from Wisc. also how nice.
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Old March 1, 2018   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetstar View Post
Goodloe I don' know if it will help prevent fungal issues but after adding water to the coconut coir that Burpee sells I microwaved it 4 times at 60 sec each and repeated it 4 times. the You Tube link (Rusted Garden) said it would kill off any fungus, insect eggs and any other bad stuff to ensure the young plants were healthy when put in the garden. Don't know if you did this for your seed mix but it can't hurt.
Can anyone confirm that coir can hold insect eggs? The one year I tried it on some cupheas they got flea beetles that made round holes in the leaves. I did wonder about the coir then but thought it would surely be processed in some way to prevent spread of any insects before being shipped to other countries.
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