stainlessbrown
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tomato-from cuttings versus seedlings

Greetings

I posted some time ago regarding a second (late) planting of tomatos (California, Central Valley) and there seemed to be a split consensus on whether it would be better to start from seeds or root cuttings-

I tried both- I put seedlings in the ground in mid July and cuttings (yes they do indeed root) 3 weeks later in early August. Both took hold, but the seedlings have grown much faster, producing more robust plants and are now setting blooms, although my gut feeling is I should have put in a second planting 30 - 45 days earlier as I am not expecting much in the way of a yield (if any) as the days now grow shorter and nifghts /days are getting cooler

I am tempted to take cuttings and root and pot indoors through the winter to see if this gives me any headstart from seeds or seedlings from the nursery.

This year got off to a late start and while not bad, not as plentiful as last year (39 qts of sauce 21 juice last year--- 25 qts sauce and 9 juice this year)

anyway- for anyone who's considered- cuttings work, but seeds seem more "sure-thing", but it could be my technique, or perhaps I should have left them in water longer to develop more roots --to place in soil I set some seedling 6 packs in a tray full of water, set in cutting and slowly added soil to displace water, piulled from tray and after a week in the 6 packs, moved to ground

however, I do grow Shady Lady's and I have been told that seeds from them are not always dependable...although no one has divuldged how the seed companies get the seeds (but they are among the pricier seed)

Cheers from Sacratomato!

pepperhead212
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Re: tomato-from cuttings versus seedlings

I also had this experience, the one time I tried cuttings. The seed starts seemed to grow much better, so I never tried it again.
Dave

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Re: tomato-from cuttings versus seedlings

Tomatoes are technically perennial, but they are usually killed by pests and disease. If you take cuttings, the plant has to be very healthy. If you are saving seeds from a hybrid, they won't be the same. Even if you buy seeds of the same variety there will be some genetic variation depending on how stable the cross is.
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stainlessbrown
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Re: tomato-from cuttings versus seedlings

here, it's typically frost that gets them for me, plus I grown Shady Lady's (determinant" and i've been told that if they did survive the winter (as well as indeterminant) they do not produce as well the second year

The Shady Lady seeds (organic) are pricey, so cuttings may still an option if I can take some before frost gets them and them pot those through the winter.

I'd like to know how exactly they get the seeds for the S L's

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Gary350
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Re: tomato-from cuttings versus seedlings

I plant tomatoes usually last week of April in TN and harvest tomatoes about July 4th. Once our weather is hot near 100 plants start having problems with, black spot, blight other diseases. When I lived in Phoenix area I planted the whole garden Nov 1.

I often plant seeds about every 3 weeks all summer. New plants seem to be more resistant to the problems older plants have.

Cutting are the same age as the mother plant if mother plants develop a sickness cutting get the same sickness but new plants grown from seeds will not get that sickness for another month or so.

Age of the plants seem to have something to do with when plants start getting sick.

When I buy plants there is no way to know how old those plants are. If a 4 pack or 6 pack of plants are 10" tall and roots look like solid roots crowded in a space too small changes are these plants are more than a month old. I like to buy smallest youngest plants they seem to live longer before getting a sickness.

My new plants from seeds are replacements for old plants that are dying or dead. When I lived in Illinois and Michigan summer weather was cooler tomato plants never suffered in hot weather like TN.

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applestar
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Re: tomato-from cuttings versus seedlings

I didn’t see this thread before, when it was first posted and discussion was active. Thanks for bringing it up again, Gary350.


The way I understand the process, generally speaking, HEALTHY tomato cutting taken for propagation should not be blooming yet or should only just have started blooming, and those flower buds should be removed until the cutting is well rooted and growing new side branches. Best cuttings are taken when the young plant is just starting to grow and develop suckers.

I generally grow heirloom and stabilized crosses, and mostly indeterminates, so I never tried growing Shady Lane before, but my understanding of determinate varieties is that they usually bloom and fruit on terminating trusses, then die once their biological imperative is satisfied. Determinate tomatoes are annual in that sense. In addition, since determinate tomatoes have limited capability/capacity for developing growing branch points rather than the terminating flowering/fruiting trusses, they really are not suited for cutting propagation.

Based on perennial vegetative and woody plants that are propagated by cutting and by scion grafting, the cuttings have same senescence or developmental age as the original mother plant. That’s why grafted fruit trees can fruit faster.

Wouldn’t that mean cuttings taken from determinate tomato plants also have limited lifespan? And if their root system is just starting from rooted cuttings rather than fully developed from growing from seeds, would that not result in weaker growths that won’t support the energy needs for fruiting?

In my experience, there was one supposedly determinate variety I grew one year, that acted differently. It did grow terminating trusses and fruit, but this plant was badly infested by tomato russet mites, and by the time it managed to mature just one truss of fruits, the entire plant became so weak that it seemed to completely die and dry up. But when left alone, the plant would grow another side shoot from the base of the dead trunk... then become infested again and struggle to mature one truss and die again. This curiously “determined” plant did this for fully four cycles before succumbing to fungal diseases and really die.
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imafan26
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Re: tomato-from cuttings versus seedlings

I experienced the same thing with herbaceous cuttings. The plants know how old they are. The cuttings, even when taken from younger plants, bloomed and senesced at the same time as the original plant.

It is different with cuttings from woody plants with longer life spans. They do fruit faster, again because they do know how old they are, but they survive longer because it is natural for them to do so.

The other potential problem with cloning vegetatively from roots or side shoots is that sometimes the side branches are not as strong as the terminal bud and sometimes they lose some of the original plant's disease resistance.

If you take lateral shoots from some trees, they have a memory and you have a plant that only wants to grow sideways. In papaya, side shoots come out naturally and can be air layered. Sometimes the side shoots of PRSV resistant plants will lose viral resistance and show symptoms.
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Gary350
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Re: tomato-from cuttings versus seedlings

When I buy tomato plants in plant trays at the garden store they never say indeterminate & determinate tomato plants.

imafan26
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Re: tomato-from cuttings versus seedlings

That is true Gary. Most people who buy seedlings from stores don't know the difference anyway. I can usually tell by the name or the short internodes that they are determinants.
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applestar
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Re: tomato-from cuttings versus seedlings

Have you seen this document? It lists some commercial hybrids which presumably are suited to the Tennessee area climate, with indeterminate and determinate as well as disease resistance, etc. in the description. These maybe the ones often sold in your area, especially farmer’s markets or independent garden centers (though big box stores may not be so preferential).

THE TENNESSEE VEGETABLE GARDEN
GROWING TOMATOES
https://extension.tennessee.edu/MasterG ... W346-H.pdf
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imafan26
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Re: tomato-from cuttings versus seedlings

Nice article. Some of it does not apply to me since I don't have to worry about frost and long days to harvest. I think local growers usually get seeds that are from common cultivars and when they can get a good deal on bulk seed. They usually do select cultivars that will do o.k. in our climate. The local vendors sometimes do not even label the variety on eggplant and papaya. Most of the tomatoes are labeled but they are common ones like brandywine, patio, roma, husky, sweet 100, tumbling tom, and red robin. Eggplant sometimes have names, sometimes not. Most people are not familiar enough with the names to know if the eggplant is round, long, skinny, fat, green, purple, black, or white. Papaya are often labeled papaya which is a problem here since people want to know if it is Sunrise or Waimanalo X77. It is the same with pikake. The growers do not consistently label the cultivars and there are 3 different kinds of pikake flowers. Plumeria, are not listed by cultivar, sometimes the pot is colored for the flower, but not always. Peppers are usually labeled with variety, but sometimes bell pepper are just labeled "bell pepper". Cucumber is not always labeled and people mostly only want Japanese cucumbers, not American. Sometimes cucumbers are just labeled cucumber or Japanese cucumber instead of by variety. It gets worse, the vendors don't have enough individual labels for plants so they use the azalea labels for ti, and gerbera labels for hibiscus. A few times there were no labels at all.
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Gary350
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Re: tomato-from cuttings versus seedlings

applestar wrote:Have you seen this document? It lists some commercial hybrids which presumably are suited to the Tennessee area climate, with indeterminate and determinate as well as disease resistance, etc. in the description. These maybe the ones often sold in your area, especially farmer’s markets or independent garden centers (though big box stores may not be so preferential).

THE TENNESSEE VEGETABLE GARDEN
GROWING TOMATOES
https://extension.tennessee.edu/MasterG ... W346-H.pdf
This link is an interesting list of tomato varieties. From that list I have seen, early girl, celebrity, big beef, big boy, brand wine sold around here. I am going to look for Plum Crimson for the next garden. I also see Rutger, Beef master, Beef steak, tomato plants not on the list. Lowe's, Home Depot, Garden store, TSC store all have the same plants. I use to see more variety when Farmers Co-op sold plants. I would plant German Johnson again if I could find plants.

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jal_ut
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Re: tomato-from cuttings versus seedlings

" there seemed to be a split consensus on whether it would be better to start from seeds or root cuttings"

I suppose of all the plants we might grow in our gardens it is likely that more fuss has been made about growing tomatoes than any thing else? For sure there is a good variety of tomatoes to play with. To actually get a fruit you must select a variety that will complete in the length of growing season you have. Here in high dry Northern Utah you need some fairly early maturing types if you are to get any fruit. You can start them indoors for later transplanting out, or buy nursery plants that are 8 to 10 inches tall in the store. When planting these dig a tapering trench and put the root ball in the deep end and bury a good portion of the stem leaving 3 or 4 leaves exposed. The buried stem will send out roots giving the plant a much larger root system. Water and keep the weeds out and you should have tomatoes. One never knows though. Here one year we had a frost on the 5th of July after it being 90 degrees for the parade on the 4th. You just plant and hope.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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