When is the last time to sow tomato seeds

I`ve always sown my tomato seed at the beginning of April, but events have overtaken me this year and need to order tomato seed today! Assuming I will receive it by end of the week- April18th/19th, can I sow it then or is it too late. Most of the advice says early April. Has anyone done the same as me?



  • Busy Bee2Busy Bee2 Posts: 1,005

    Last year, I found an out of date pack of Gardeners' Delight Tomatoes last year in mid April and planted them expecting nothing.  They did grow and bore lots of tomatoes in September/October.  I have started earlier this year (probably too early).  Last year they were outside, this year I have a greenhouse - I guess that might have been why they came along quite late, but obviously we did have good weather last year, and this year, who knows. 

  • chickychicky SurreyPosts: 7,113

    How many plants do you need Sarah? If its not very many you might be better buying small plants from a GC - they are not very expensive, and would get you back to where you normally are at this time of year.

    The Stone Age didn’t end because they ran out of stones ......
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Sarah - I wouldn't worry too much, but chicky's right - buy a few plants as well  - they're not very expensive.  Sow some seed too - they'll soon catch up anyway.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,882

    I've only just sown mine as I don't have a greenhouse and the outside temperatures need to be good before they're too big for the windowsill.

    If I were you I'd pop out today and buy some seed, but if that's not a possibility then order your seed today and sow as soon as you get them.  Look for an early fruiting variety - Red Alert is always early for me and is a tasty tomato that yields well outside.  

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • In reading about the cloche where do I get the material that forms over the frame to seal it ?

    I would like to use this idea but don`t know the name of this plastic used or where to get it in the USA  Thanks for any information .image

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,882

    Hi Marie image

    Is this the item you're talking about?  http://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/projects/garden-diy/how-to-make-a-cloche-for-seeds/82.html 

    I believe the plastic is avalable in the USA - it's a plastic film that's attached over the inside of windows in areas that get bad winters, to seal against drafts.  I would imagine it's available from DIY stores.  

    I've just found this on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/3M-Indoor-Window-Insulator-5-Window/dp/B00002NCJI 


    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • sarah18sarah18 Posts: 5

    Thanks for all those responses about growing tomatoes now. I`ll get `Red Alert` and buy some plants from supermarket and plant the seed I`ve ordered and see what happens!

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    There are a number of super-early varieties. They hail mainly from Northern Europe where growing seasons are short to the point of almost non-existent.

    Years ago in Australia, out of curiosity, I tried one of the better known of them, a Czech variety called Stupice (pron. Stoo-pee-cha). It matured in around 50 days. The best that could be said was that it was red. Virtually no flavour. Typical of the super-early varieties.

    They're basically for growers in inhospitable climates for whom any tomato is better than nothing.

  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 751

    I would say anything is better than a tasteless tomato. image

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,363

    Hi Italiophile, I agree and grew Stupice last year as a back-up in case we had another rotten Summer in the UK. image  I won't be bothering with that one again although, as Jim said, they were still better than the average supermarket ones! image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • I have just bought a new variety of super sweet cherry toms seed called sweet aperitif.  I sowed the seed on Saturday last. Saw them advertised in last Sunday week's Times and thought I'd give them a try. Said to be the world's sweetest tomato - time will tell but I have sown seed as late as May before now and it's surprising how quickly they catch up. Sweet Aperitif are supposed to be OK for outdoors as well as in the Greenhouse. (I'll try both & see how they do). John H 

  • Bf206Bf206 Posts: 235

    Last few years I've sown end March indoors, ahead of them going in a mini unheated greenhouse and ultimately outside. This year, though, I've decided to hold off and just sowed them yesterday. I found last year especially that, with a late, cool spring, my seedlings had to spend a long time indoors and they just weren't getting the light they needed but even the greenhouse would have killed them with the cold nights. I'm hoping now that, by the time they germinate, and with longer days, they won't have to spend too long inside before I can put them into the greenhouse.

  • Checked my Sweet Aperitif this morning and they have germinated & are about 1/2" through the compost - that's just 8 days. They're sitting in a seed tray on the base of a small electric propagator.

  • Bf206Bf206 Posts: 235

    I'm growing some Sweet Aperitif this year (and Black Cherry, Flamingo, Sungold, Katiebell) and it was very noticeable they were the last to germinate - not that I think it matters particularly! They're a similar height to yours - whereas all the others have shot up, 1"+. It's a south facing window but i think the light levels aren't great so I usually have leggy seedlings but I'll bury the stems when I pot them up and that seems to sort them out. 

  • My sweet aperitif are now about 30mm high. I sowed 15 seeds and 14 have germinated so I'm pleased with that. They are in an unheated greenhouse though I stood the tray on an electric propagator until they germinated then placed then on the staging unheated so they don't get too leggy. Other tomatoes are doing well - red alert, country taste, sub arctic plenty- all between 4 & 8 inches tall at present and very healthy looking plants.
  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 751

    I went to a great nursery last week, they're only open once in a while and grow everything themselves, so I bought a few plants, they were so healthy and such a great price, it's hardly worth growing your own stuff from seed if you can guarantee they'll have what you're after. 

  • Bf206Bf206 Posts: 235

    I've done both over the years - raised plants from seed and bought small plants. It might just be coincidence but I've found that seed-grown toms are less prone to disease, fungus, blight etc.

    John Harding - do you have a photo of your seedlings? I haven't got the same set-up as you but I'm interested in what toms 'should' look like at this stage! I know mine never start out brilliantly as I'm quite limited space-wise inside but they seem to catch up nicely once in their final positions.

  • I'm in Hereford at the moment but when I get back to Bristol I'll take some pics and post them here - sometime in the next couple of days.
  • Hi Bf206,

    Have been out in the GH & taken a few pics this lunchtime - see below:

    1. Sweet Aperitif seedlings (tallest is now 40mm)


    2. Red Alert tom.


    3. Country Taste tom.


    4. General view of L/H side of GH


     5. General view of R/H side of GH


     Strawberry troughs on shelves on pergola


     NB. Climbing rose L/H side of Pergola is 'The Pilgrim'

            The Clematis on R/H side is 'Elsa Spath'



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